Looking for CACREP-accredited online counseling programs that will lead to a graduate degree? Our list is a great beginning point for finding affordable online counseling degrees from schools with CACREP-accredited programs.

If you’re the type of person that understands how humans operate and are striving to find a career that will enable you to help people, look no further. Pursuing counseling as a career not only benefits you in terms of long-term job assurance, but it also benefits everyone you’re able to offer guidance to along the way.

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CACREP, the esteemed Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, wields its authority as a recognized accrediting agency, guaranteeing the excellence of graduate-level counseling programs. Pursuing a CACREP-accredited program is crucial for aspiring counseling professionals, as many states require proof of attending such a program for licensing exams.

We aim to provide you with a curated list of affordable online counseling degrees from CACREP-accredited institutions. We understand that cost, time investment, and flexibility are important factors when choosing a program, especially in a world that increasingly values online learning. We thoroughly investigated and gathered this compilation to assist you in discovering a program that aligns with both your requirements and financial resources.

Explore comprehensive program details, encompassing expenses, duration, and distinctive attributes. Discover comprehensive details on every program, encompassing expenses, duration, and distinctive attributes. Whether you embark on your search or streamline your choices, let this comprehensive guide empower you on your path to a fulfilling counseling career.

Popular Online Counseling Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

As far as counseling programs go, if they’re not CACREP-approved, they may not be worth your time or money. As an organization, CACREP upholds the quality and value standards for counseling programs across the board; each must undergo an extensive evaluation before receiving accreditation. Only master’s and doctoral degrees are currently recognized by CACREP as acceptable for counseling programs.

What is the CACREP?

The CACREP is an accrediting body for counseling programs. They are responsible for making sure that these programs meet certain standards. The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that the counseling program offers the best education possible, allowing students to make decisions about which program to attend based on quality.

Accredited Counseling Programs should be a consideration when choosing a university because they offer a good education. Certain states require proof of attending an accredited program to sit for their licensing exam. You can access more information about the counseling accreditation council on their website at: http://www.cacrep.org.

CACREP is the most well-known accreditation agency for educational programs in counseling, so if you want to earn a degree in this field, it should be familiar to you. Any campus-based or online counseling programs accredited by CACREP should include the CACREP logo on their online program page and be featured on CACREP’s approved provider list.

Accreditation bodies, such as CACREP, strive to offer uniform evaluations of educational programs across the country. There may be certain prerequisites for forthcoming programs seeking accreditation, some of which can probably be completed with the implementation of a comprehensive curriculum, qualified instructors, and up-to-date ethical and legal recommendations for future counseling professionals.

Take a look at some of the criteria that may be evaluated during the accreditation procedure:

  • Program faculty and staff evaluation
  • Core curriculum review
  • Clinical practice requirements – internship, practicum, supervisors
  • Student and program assessment
  • Specialty areas

Affordable Online Counseling Programs Accredited by CACREP

If you’re looking for affordable online counseling programs accredited by CACREP, then you’ve come to the right place. Best-universities.net has compiled a list of the most affordable online counseling programs that have been accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

CACREP is a specialized accrediting agency that evaluates and accredits graduate-level counseling and related programs. By choosing an online counseling program that has been accredited by CACREP, you can be assured that the program meets high standards of academic and professional excellence.

One of the benefits of online counseling programs is their affordability. With online programs, you can save money on housing, transportation, and other expenses associated with attending a traditional on-campus program. However, it’s important to choose a program that meets your academic and career goals while also being affordable.

Best-universities.net has researched and analyzed the most affordable online counseling programs that have been accredited by CACREP. Our list includes programs that are offered by reputable universities and colleges that have a track record of excellence in counseling education.

Our list includes information about the tuition costs, program length, and admission requirements for each program. We also provide information about the accreditation status of each program and the types of counseling specialties that are offered.

By using our list, you can compare different online CACREP-accredited counseling programs and choose the one that best meets your needs and budget. We also provide helpful tips on how to apply for financial aid and scholarships to help make your education more affordable.

At Best-universities.net, we’re committed to providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your education. We believe that everyone should have access to high-quality counseling education, regardless of their financial situation. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the most affordable online counseling programs that have been accredited by CACREP.

All schools considered for these rankings meet the following criteria:

  • Are regionally or nationally accredited
  • Offer at least one fully online CACREP-Accredited Counseling degree (with no more than two weeks of required in-person work)
  • Were collected from official accrediting agency websites.

Schools are ranked solely by the average net price as released in the most recent IPEDs database collected in July of 2023.

Most Affordable CACREP-Accredited Online Counseling Programs for 2024

RankSchoolAverage Net Price
#1Lamar University$13,351
#2University of Hawaii at Manoa$13,430
#3University of the Cumberlands$14,654
#4Wright State University$15,455
#5Lock Haven University$15,583
#6Bellevue University$15,794
#7North Carolina State University$16,239
#8Lindsey Wilson College$16,538
#9Freed-Hardeman University$17,099
#10Regent University$17,120
#11Oregon State University$18,010
#12Malone University$18,203
#13Grace College$18,393
#14University at Buffalo$19,344
#15Union Institute & University$22,311
#16Gallaudet University$22,616
#17Messiah University$23,560
#18Concordia University-Irvine$24,483
#19Bradley University$24,835
#20St Bonaventure University$25,187
#21Colorado Christian University$25,681
#22Northwestern University$28,230
#23Liberty University$28,561
#24Wake Forest University$29,214

Online Counseling Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.  

10 Cheapest Colleges Offering Online CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs

Welcome to our list of the cheapest CACREP-accredited programs online, ranked by average net prices.

1. Lamar University

Average Net Price: $13,351

Lamar University is a public university that was founded in 1923. It is located in Beaumont, Texas, and is considered a large university with over 15,000 undergraduate students. This university possesses a CACREP-accredited Master of Education (M.Ed.) program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program can be completed in less than three years and has 60 credit hours. Upon completion, students will have the necessary knowledge and skills to help those seeking clinical mental health counseling services, and all students will be required to apply for their license to become authorized as counseling professionals in the state they plan to work.

In addition to a fully online curriculum, all individuals who enroll in this program must attend two residencies as well as a practicum and internship, all of which are in-person. A few of the required courses that prospective students can expect to take are Human Growth and Development, Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Counseling Skills, Individual Counseling Theories & Techniques, Multicultural Counseling, Group Counseling Theories & Techniques, Substance Abuse Counseling, and more.

2. University of Hawaii at Manoa

Average Net Price: $13,430

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is a public university that opened to students in 1907. It is located in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is considered an average-sized college with an undergraduate enrollment of around 12,000 students. This university offers an online Master of Science (M.S.) in Rehabilitation Science with a concentration in rehabilitation counseling. The program’s purpose is to teach students how to assist people with disabilities and help them accomplish their goals, such as getting a job, taking on responsibilities, having a sense of independence, and more. Students enrolled in this program can expect to graduate within three years. After graduation, they can take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and National Counselor tests.

3. University of the Cumberlands

Average Net Price: $14,654

The University of the Cumberlands is a private university that began teaching students in 1888. It is located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and is considered a small university with less than 2,500 undergraduate students. This university offers two of the country’s top-rated CACREP-accredited programs, which are the online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Addiction Counseling and the online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

The M.A. in Addiction Counseling will prepare students for careers helping individuals who have developed addictions. They will learn how to apply their learned intervention and prevention techniques, counseling theories, approaches, assessments, and evaluations. Students will also learn how to properly diagnose and create treatment plans based on each client.

The M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a growing field and needed expertise, as it helps individuals with emotional and mental health issues. Individuals who are interested in advocating and making a difference among those with mental health issues are perfect for this degree program. A few of the topics that will be covered are marriage and family counseling, child and adolescent counseling, clinical supervision, counseling theories and techniques, and more.

4. Wright State University

Average Net Price: $15,455

Wright State University is a public university that was founded in 1967. It is located in Dayton, Ohio, and is considered an average size college with around 10,000 undergraduate students. This university offers a few CACREP-accredited online counseling programs, which include the Master of Rehabilitation Counseling (M.R.C.) in Addiction Counseling, the Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and the Master of Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (M.R.C.).

The M.R.C. in Addiction Counseling degree prepares students for the National Counseling Exam to become licensed professional counselors in the state of Ohio. Students who pursue this program will be educated about addictions, how to diagnose and use clinical treatment on clients, various counseling theories, and more.

The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling focuses on various theories and techniques for counseling individual clients, groups, and families. It also teaches how to do psychometric assessments. A few of the courses that students will be required to pass to graduate are Counseling Theory and Practice, Techniques of Counseling, Assessment and Evaluation in Counseling, Crisis Counseling, Group Process in Counseling, and more.

The M.R.C. degree emphasizes the importance of helping people with mental, physical, social, or emotional disabilities. This is a needed degree among professionals who are employed by hospitals, government offices, and the private sector. Some of the courses individuals admitted to this program can take are Clinical Pathology in Counseling, Career Counseling and Development, Marriage and Family Counseling, Counseling for Life-Span Development, Multicultural Counseling, and more.

5. Lock Haven University

Average Net Price: $15,583

Lock Haven University offers two CACREP-accredited online counseling programs:

  • Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MACMHC): This program is designed to prepare students to work as licensed professional counselors (LPCs) in a variety of settings, including private practice, schools, hospitals, and community agencies. The program can be completed in as few as 18 months.
  • Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAfMFT): This program is designed to prepare students to work as licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) in a variety of settings, including private practice, agencies, and schools. The program can be completed in as few as 21 months.

Both programs are offered entirely online and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Students in both programs take the same core courses in counseling theory, research, and practice. In addition, students in the MACMHC program take courses in clinical assessment and diagnosis, while students in the MAfMFT program take courses in family systems theory and therapy.

Both programs require students to complete a practicum and internship experience. The practicum experience is typically completed in a community agency, while the internship experience is typically completed in a private practice or agency.

To be admitted to either program, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a GPA of at least 3.0. They must also submit GRE scores and letters of recommendation.

Graduates of Lock Haven University’s CACREP-accredited online counseling programs are eligible to take the licensure exams for LPCs and LMFTs in most states.

Here are some additional details about each program:

  • MACMHC: The MACMHC program requires students to complete 60 credit hours. The program curriculum includes courses in:
    • Counseling theory and practice
    • Clinical assessment and diagnosis
    • Human growth and development
    • Group counseling
    • Substance abuse counseling
    • Marriage and family therapy
    • Practicum
    • Internship
  • MAfMFT: The MAfMFT program requires students to complete 63 credit hours. The program curriculum includes courses in:
    • Family systems theory and therapy
    • Couple and family counseling
    • Child and adolescent counseling
    • Substance abuse counseling
    • Practicum
    • Internship

6. Bellevue University

Average Net Price: $15,794

Bellevue University is a private university that was established in 1966. It is located in Bellevue, Nebraska, and is considered an average size college with around 6,300 undergraduate students. This university is known for its CACREP-accredited Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The program is offered online and consists of 60 credit hours. It is based on the standards of the national licensing model and will help students prepare for the test to become licensed mental health counselors.

Although the courses are all online, each student must complete 100 hours of a practicum and 600 hours of clinical internship experience, both of which will need to be supervised by a licensed counselor. Some courses students enrolled in the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling are required to pass are Introduction to Counseling Theories, Statistics and Quantitative Research Methods, Qualitative Research Methods and Program Evaluation, Human Development Throughout the Lifespan, Theories of Psychopathology, and more.

7. North Carolina State University

Average Net Price: $16,239

North Carolina State University is a public university that opened its doors in 1887. It is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is considered a large university with an undergraduate enrollment of close to 24,000. This university offers three online master’s degrees in counseling, which are the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in College Counseling and Student Development, and the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling. All three of these programs have met the CACREP standards and have received CACREP accreditation.

The objective of the M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is to teach students how to work with professionals in different industries as well as ensure the well-being of their clients while remaining dedicated to social justice, diversity, and multiculturism. The following are a few of the courses that will need to be passed to graduate from the program: Career Counseling and Development, Multicultural Counseling, Theories of Counseling, Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Group Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, and more.

The professors of the M.Ed. in College Counseling and Student Development program are committed to preparing students for careers in which they will spend a lot of time advocating for the development of college students. Upon graduation, all students will be ready to help students from different backgrounds with their academic, personal, social, and career pursuits. Several of the courses that will be offered to students in this program are Gender Issues in Counseling, Research Issues, Introduction to College Counseling and Student Development, Career Counseling and Development, Crisis Counseling, and more.

The online M.Ed. in School Counseling program has the goal of educating individuals on how to handle the academic, career, social, and emotional requests and needs of all students. Individuals interested in this degree program should have a strong desire to help students accomplish their goals and chase after their passions and dreams. The following are a few of the courses that students will be required to take: Techniques in Counseling, Introduction to School Counseling, Counseling Couples and Families, Multicultural Life Span Human Development, Strategies for Clinical Assessment in Counseling, and more.

8. Lindsey Wilson College

Average Net Price: $16,538

Lindsey Wilson College is a private university that was formed in 1903. It is located in Columbia, Kentucky, and is rooted in the United Methodist faith. This university is considered a very small college with less than 2,000 undergraduate students. Lindsey Wilson College provides interested students with a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling and Human Development. This is one of the top-rated CACREP-accredited online counseling programs in the United States.

Students who enroll in the program must have a passion and interest in helping people and creating a difference in the lives of others. Upon completion of the M.Ed. in Counseling and Human Development program, each student will be prepared to help individuals reach their highest potential and live a fulfilled life. The following are several of the courses that each student must successfully pass: Life Cycle Development in Individuals & Families, Multicultural Counseling, Group Counseling Techniques, Career Education Counseling, Individual & Group Assessment, and more.

9. Freed-Hardeman University

Average Net Price: $17,099

Freed-Hardeman University is a private liberal arts university that was founded in 1869. It is located in Henderson, Tennessee, and is a smaller university with about 1,800 undergraduate students. This university possesses a CACREP-accredited M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. The program can be completed in as little as two years and requires 61 credit hours. Upon completion, students will be ready for the clinical practice of professional mental health counseling. All students will be required to apply for their license to become authorized as counseling professionals for the state where they plan to work.

In addition to a fully online curriculum, all individuals who enroll in this program must complete a practicum and an internship, all of which are in-person. A few of the required courses that prospective students can expect to take are Ethical Issues in Counseling, Addictions Counseling, Group Counseling, Career Counseling, Counseling Diverse Populations, Life-Cycle Development, and more.

10. Regent University

Average Net Price: $18,965

Regent University offers three CACREP-accredited online counseling programs:

  • Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC): This program prepares you to help individuals manage and overcome life issues, by guiding clients to better mental health. The program combines models and techniques of counseling with biblical principles for a strong and balanced approach.
  • Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling (MCFC): This program prepares you to restore the foundation of couples and families. Strong family structures lead to stronger communities. The program focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of couples and families with a variety of concerns.
  • Master of Arts in School Counseling (SC): This program prepares you to provide counseling and mental health services to students in K-12 schools. The program focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of students with a variety of concerns, as well as the promotion of positive mental health and well-being.

All of Regent’s CACREP-accredited online counseling programs are offered in a hybrid format, which means that some courses are offered online and some are offered on campus. This allows students to have the flexibility to complete their coursework on their own time, while also having the opportunity to interact with faculty and classmates in person.

The programs are also grounded in a Christian worldview, and students are encouraged to integrate their faith into their counseling practice.

To be eligible to apply to one of Regent’s CACREP-accredited online counseling programs, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of at least 3.0. You must also submit GRE scores and letters of recommendation.

The programs typically take 2-3 years to complete.

The cost of tuition for Regent’s CACREP-accredited online counseling programs varies depending on the program and the number of credits you take.

Regent University offers a variety of financial aid options to help students afford their education. These options include scholarships, grants, and loans.

If you are interested in learning more about Regent University’s CACREP-accredited online counseling programs, you can visit their website or contact their admissions office.

Guide to CACREP-Accredited Programs

Why choose a CACREP-accredited program?

Suppose you aspire to become a professional counselor or a professional clinical counselor. In that case, you must enroll in the best program to train and prepare you for licensing exams and counseling practice. It is vital to choose a program recognized by an accrediting board. Fortunately, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program is a recognized body that promotes advancement in the counseling field. The accrediting agency oversees and grants accreditation to various counseling programs offered by institutions of higher learning. CACREP-accredited programs are recognized by employers, making it easier for graduates to land jobs immediately after completing them.

Notably, the program accreditation process is voluntary. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise to find a university program without the CACREP-accredited seal. CACREP provides accreditation for various counseling fields, including school counseling, addiction counseling, and rehabilitation counseling. Other accredited programs include counseling degrees related to clinical mental health counseling and counselor education. Although not all programs are accredited, it is vital to enroll in a CACREP-accredited program. This designation demonstrates that the program has met all the standards set by CACREP and state licensing boards. With this, you can sit for the state licensing examinations needed to become a licensed professional or clinical counselor.

Are you seeking to pursue a counseling profession but don’t know where to start? Well, we got you covered. Below, we explore everything you need to know about CACREP-accredited programs, including:

  1. Importance of getting into a CACREP-accredited program
  2. What a program must do for CACREP accreditation
  3. What to expect from a CACREP-accredited program
  4. Top CACREP-accredited programs

Importance of Getting into A CACREP-Accredited Program

Currently, many Americans are battling conditions related to mental health disorders, ranging from depression to addiction problems. These mental health conditions require comprehensive professional care that involves therapeutic and pharmaceutical interventions, leading to increased demand for counseling services in the country.

However, the healthcare sector is currently grappling with a shortage of professional counselors, leading to the demand for counseling programs to train and prepare a skilled workforce to meet the high demand. Unfortunately, the increased demand has led to a rise in substandard programs that don’t meet the standards for counseling education. CACREP reviewed and evaluated education programs majoring in counseling. Please keep reading to get more insights into CACREP and its importance.

What Is a CACREP-Accredited Program?

A CACREP-accredited program is a counseling program that was reviewed, evaluated, and certified to have met all the counseling education standards. CACREP-accredited programs are, hence, of high quality. Education programs majoring in counseling education must meet standards that center on different core areas in counseling. The core areas include human growth, social foundation, career development, group counseling, helping relationships, research, appraisal, and professional issues. The CACREP accreditation process reviews the program’s supervised clinical training to ensure it provides specialty training needed by prospective counseling students. CACREP also ensures that online counseling programs meet the same quality standards as their on-campus counterparts.

What Can Happen If Your Degree Program Is Not CACREP-Accredited?

Notwithstanding that it is vital to ensure that your degree is accredited, there is no harm if your degree program is not CACRP-accredited. Interestingly, you will never lose your practice license because of your graduate program’s accreditation status. However, there are chances that you will unlikely get employment opportunities in some states. Employers are always looking for CACREP-accredited program graduates because they are perceived to have gained top-quality training in the counseling discipline.

What Sort of Benefits do You Receive for Graduating from A CACREP-Accredited Program?

If you are considering either an online counseling program or a campus-based program, there are various benefits you will receive for graduating from a CACREP-accredited program. One such advantage is a broader range of career opportunities. Prospective professional counselors graduating from CACREP-accredited programs are the most sought-after by employers. The graduates will have a pool of job offers to choose from, including those related to social workers, counselor educators, and school counselors. Completing a CACREP-accredited program prepares graduates to undertake and pass state counseling licensing exams. The application process is streamlined, accelerating the process. Also, the graduates can easily transition to doctoral degree programs such as social work programs.

What A Program Must Do for CACREP Accreditation

CACREP accreditation is significant as it demonstrates that a college or university has been certified as a top-quality, reliable program. Accreditation ensures a greater value to your degree and provides a better education if one opts to continue their education to advanced levels. Additionally, graduating from a CACREP-accredited program allows students to take state licensing and certification exams. Therefore, it is vital for learning institutions majoring in counseling education programs to get CACREP accreditation. Some of the programs that need to be accredited include mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and related educational programs that offer open admissions and prepare students to become professional counselors. But what must a program do to gain accreditation? This page explores the requirements to become CACREP-accredited programs, and obligations to maintain the accreditation, among other aspects.

What Are the Requirements That a Program Must Fulfill to Become CACREP-Accredited?

An educational program seeking CACREP accreditation must meet specific requirements to become CACREP-accredited. Currently, there are two types of accreditation; specialized and institutional. Specialized accreditors review and evaluate the professional preparation program within a learning institution, leading to degree-specific accreditation. On the other hand, institutional accreditation reviews and evaluates the entire college. CACREP is a specialized accreditor that accredits graduate programs such as master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling. It also accredits counseling specialties offered by the universities.

To gain accreditation, you must conduct a self-study and submit a report that counselors and counselor educators will review. The self-study report must document how the program is meeting each standard. The review process also involves an on-site visit. Consequently, the CACREP Board of Directors reviews all the provided documents and renders accreditation decisions. The accreditation decision is based on various requirements regarding:

  • Financial aid
  • Self-evaluation
  • Student selection and advising
  • Educational content
  • Program mission and objectives
  • Practicum experiences
  • Governance
  • Faculty qualifications and workload
  • Instructional support

What Are a Program’s Obligations to Maintain Their CACREP Accreditation?

Once accredited, the accredited programs must maintain their CACREP accreditation. The programs must submit interim reports to correct deficiencies in the standards associated with the accreditation. They are obligated to submit mid-cycle reports that update changes to the program since initial accreditation. Also, the program needs to submit end-year reports on the number of students enrolled in the program, faculty demographics, and the number of graduates. If the program plans to make changes to its curricula or resource allocation, it must submit a Substantive Change Report for review. The programs are also obligated to submit accreditation maintenance fees annually.

What Can Cause a Program to Lose a CACREP Accreditation?

A program can lose CACREP accreditation in several instances. Some of the instances include:

  • If the CACREP-accredited program voluntarily withdraws from the accreditation
  • If a national or regional institutional accreditor revokes the program accredited status
  • If a college or university offering a CACEP accredited programs place under probation or gets its accreditation suspended by a recognized or national accreditation bodies and remains unresolved for an extended period

What to Expect from A CACREP-Accredited Program

It is quite evident that the CACREP-accredited program has met all the quality standards in each core area put in place by the accreditors. Therefore, prospective counseling students enrolling in CACREP-accredited programs should have higher expectations during and after the program. Firstly, the students expect that there is no GRE requirement to enroll in a CACREP-accredited program. Students should expect the CACREP-accredited program’s curricula to provide comprehensive knowledge and skills needed to practice and succeed in the counseling field.

They should expect a program that provides educational and financial support to students, especially low-income earners who strive to pursue graduate degree programs. Are you considering pursuing a CACREP-accredited program but doubt the prospects of the program? Well, this article will help you clear your doubts as it explores the expectations students should have in CACREP-accredited programs.

What Is It Like to Be a Student in A CACREP-Accredited Program?

As a student in a CACREP-accredited program, you are assured of gaining the knowledge, skills, and training you need to become a professional counselor. You also get a comprehensive education to help meet all your professional needs. Students pursuing a CACREP-accredited program have high expectations once they graduate from the program. For instance, the students expect a pool of career opportunities, which increases their employability rate.

Additionally, students in a CACREP-accredited program will likely enjoy a wide range of career prospects. Those considering independent counseling practice can easily start counseling facilities and find partners to collaborate with during their independent practice. They also enjoy a variety of financial aid, such as professional loans. All these aspects make a CACREP-accredited program the best counseling education program.

What Is It Like to Graduate from A CACREP-Accredited Program?

Graduates from CACREP-accredited programs walk shoulder high, knowing they have attained the best and top-quality counseling degree. The graduates need not worry about the potential of the degrees, as CACREP accreditation makes degrees more valuable, both in the education sector and professional field. They can rest assured of several career opportunities. They might pursue different counseling disciplines, including mental health counseling, school counseling, addiction counseling, and family counseling, among other fields.

The graduates are always highly motivated to undertake their licensing exams, believing they are highly prepared for the exams and have met the licensure requirements. Others are motivated to pursue doctoral programs, as the CACREP-accredited master’s degree program makes it easier to transition to advanced education levels.

What Quality Should You Expect from Your Teachers and Classes in A CACREP-Accredited Program?

CACREP reviews several aspects of the program during an accreditation process to ensure it meets all the set standards. Some of the standards that accreditors highly considered during the process include educational content, faculty qualifications, workload, and instructional support. Programs displaying the CACREP accreditation seal have met these standards of quality. Therefore, students should expect highly experienced and qualified faculty instructors and first-year counselor educators.

The students should expect round-the-clock educational support from their teachers and faculty members. Also, students should expect comprehensive curricula that cover all aspects of counseling. Supervised clinical practice should also be rigorous, as expected by the accrediting body.

CACREP-Accredited Programs

CACREP-accredited programs train and prepare aspiring professional counselors to help clients overcome social and health challenges. The CACREP-accreditation programs vary in several fields, including school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, addiction counseling, and other related education programs. Before enrolling in any program, it is vital to search the CACREP website to determine whether the program is accredited. In some cases, you might notice that the master’s degree counseling program you are interested in isn’t accredited.

The accreditation process for counseling programs is voluntary. Hence not all programs are accredited. However, it is significant to pursue a CACREP-accredited program. They are of high quality and have met the CACREP requirements for education programs majoring in counseling and related fields. Determining whether a master’s degree program is accredited can be tedious. But we got you covered. We strive to make the process easier for you by analyzing some of the top CACREP-accredited programs. Keep scrolling to the subsequent section.

Where Can You Find the Top CACREP-Accredited Programs?

Are you considering pursuing a CACREP-accredited program? We are confident you will find a CACREP-accredited program that helps you achieve your career goal of becoming a professional counselor here! Here are some of the schools where you can discover CACREP-accredited programs:

Walden University 

If you are looking for a low-cost master’s degree in counseling, look no further than Walden University’s Master of Science in School Counseling degree. Students pursuing the program can choose a general program or focus on one of the optional areas of specialization. The areas of specialization include crisis trauma, career counseling, addiction counseling, and military families and culture. The program is offered online, allowing students to work as they study. The program prepares students to work as professional school counselors, supporting a student in facing real-life issues and challenges.

Winston-Salem State University 

Winston-Salem State University’s Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling allows prospective students to become licensed rehabilitation counselors. The online program is suitable for working professionals who seek to advance their knowledge in rehabilitation counseling. It is also ideal for other professionals seeking to jump into the counseling profession. The program equips graduates to land gainful employment and achieve personal goals. CACREP and SACSCOC accredit the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Capella University 

Capella University’s Master of Science in School Counseling is a CACREP-accredited program. The program is available online and is one of the most affordable school counseling programs in-country. Graduates from the CACREP-accredited program are prepared to support students emotionally, academically, and socially as professional school counselors. After completing the coursework, students must complete a one-year supervised internship program to gain hands-on experience in school counseling.

Fort Valley State University 

Fort Valley State University provides a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling/case management. The online program has accreditation from three accrediting institutions; CACREP, CORE, and SACSCOC. The program trains and prepares students for future roles aimed at helping clients meet their rehabilitation needs. They will also be ready to provide case management services once they complete their coursework and complete their practicum.

Adams State University 

Adams State University offers CACREP-accredited Masters of Arts in School Counseling. The program is offered through online learning and on-campus learning formats. Students can choose the ideal program that best meets their lifestyle and professional needs. However, students enrolled in an online program must complete a one-week on-campus experience. In addition to training in counseling, students get a comprehensive education on collaborating effectively with their parents, teachers, community members, and school administrators.

Lamar University 

Lamer University has been renowned for exemplary post-secondary education since 1923. The university offers a Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It also offers a Master of Education in School Counseling. The program is offered online and takes approximately 22 months to complete the courses. It is one of the most affordable counseling degree programs you can achieve. The programs prepare students for various counseling roles geared towards improving the well-being of others and improving community relations.

Montana State University-Billings 

Montana State University’s Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling is accredited by CACREP, NCRE, and NWCCU. The program’s curriculum includes online and physical education to create exemplary counselors. The coursework is rigorous with increased flexibility as it offers both evening and daytime classes for greater convenience. The program is highly recognized nationally for its high-quality academic standards, making it one of the leading counseling programs in the country.

Bradley University 

Bradley University’s Master of Arts in Counseling in Professional School Counseling is one of the leading CACREP-accredited degree programs. The master’s degree program is offered in both online and on-campus formats. Graduates from the CACREP-accredited program will pursue careers in higher education institutions, K-12 schools, career centers, and education-based nonprofit organizations. The program unlocks several career opportunities, such as becoming a college counselor, professional school counselor, vocational counselor, guidance counselor, and career counselor.

University of Southern Maine 

The University of Southern Maine is one of the colleges offering several CACREP-accredited programs. The university offers Masters of Science in Counseling: School Counseling, a Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, and a Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, among others. The programs train and prepare students to support clients in addressing various life challenges. The college strives to deliver top-class education for counselors in school counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and mental health counseling, thus providing multiple opportunities to prospective counselors.

Bellevue University 

Bellevue University helps students build a career in healthcare, human services, and nursing through its CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Clinical Counseling. The program prepares students to take the national licensing examination upon graduating. In addition to the classroom coursework, the students must complete 600 hours of clinical internship before graduation.

What Educational and Financial Assistance Do the Top CACREP-Accredited Programs Offer for Students in Need?

The cost of higher education is rapidly increasing, preventing several aspiring counselors from pursuing graduate degrees. To help students enroll in counseling degree programs, most CACREP-accredited programs offer financial assistance to low-income students or those incapable of financing their degrees. Financial aid is mainly through scholarships. The motive of the scholarship programs is to make master’s degrees and doctoral degrees more affordable.

The scholarship programs come from various. To get the scholarships, one must meet specific eligibility requirements. Most schools have set a minimum GPA to help needy students with outstanding academic performance get financial aid. Other requirements include proof of financial need and enrollment in an accredited pre-licensure program. Are you seeking to pursue a CACREP-accredited program but are incapable due to financial constraints? Here are some of the scholarship opportunities for students in need:

  • Kelsey P. Dresser Memorial Scholarship: The scholarship program is awarded by USC Rossier School of Education in memory of Kelsey Dresser, a student in the MFT program who died in a car accident in 2015. The scholarship is offered to promising first-year MFT students. The student is eligible for a maximum of $15,000. The application requirements include a personal statement and official transcript as proof of financial need and academic capability.
  • NBCCF Military Scholarship: The NBCCF Military Scholarship is offered by the NBCC Foundation. The motive of the scholarship is to increase access to mental health services for military officers and their families. The scholarship is awarded to an active military officer or their spouse pursuing a graduate degree in professional counseling. A candidate is eligible for up to five scholarships.
  • NBCCF Rural Scholarship: NBCCF Rural Scholarship is also offered by the NBCC Foundation to a student enrolled in a CACREP-accredited master’s degree in counseling. Candidates for the scholarship must be passionate about working in a rural community that lacks mental health services. The aim is to increase access to professional counseling services. They should also be committed to obtaining an NCC certification.
  • Future Counselors of America Scholarship: The scholarship program is offered to undergraduates and graduate students pursuing education programs majoring in psychology, counseling, and related fields. Successful applicants receive a maximum of $1,000 annually. The scholarship is awarded on merit, requiring applicants to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5.
  • CACREP Student Research Grant: CACREP offers to fund prospective students focused on research related to the organization’s mission. Students receive up to $500 to support the research. The students must share their research findings with CACREP. To be eligible, a student must be pursuing a CACREP-accredited program.

How Can You Find the Best CACREP-Accredited Program for Your Needs?

Shopping for the best CACREP-accredited program can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to search. However, with suitable options, the process can be quite straightforward. There are several online websites providing information on the CACREP-accredited program. All you need is to research to determine the top-quality programs. Additionally, various educational institutions rank programs based on their quality and employability rate. The websites can be a vital tool to help you shop for the best CACREP-accredited program. You can also find information on the accredited program from your state licensing board websites to determine the certified programs offered within your state. The CACREP website is also a valuable tool to help you find the best, accredited programs.

Complete List of Online CACREP Accredited Counseling Programs

UniversityCityStateOnline Counseling ProgramCACREP StartCACREP Expires
University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksAKM.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/12/20163/31/2026
University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksAKM.Ed. in School Counseling7/12/20163/31/2026
Auburn UniversityAuburnALM.Ed. in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling7/19/201710/31/2019
Concordia University IrvineIrvineCAM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/13/201810/31/2027
Palo Alto UniversityPalo AltoCAM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/5/20153/31/2025
Palo Alto UniversityPalo AltoCAM.A. in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling7/5/20153/31/2025
Saybrook UniversityPasadenaCAM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/14/201710/31/2026
Adams State UniversityAlamosaCOM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/15/20093/31/2027
Adams State UniversityAlamosaCOM.A. in School Counseling4/1/19943/31/2027
Adams State UniversityAlamosaCOPh.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision1/13/20163/31/2027
Colorado Christian UniversityLakewoodCOM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/14/201010/31/2027
Central Connecticut State UniversityNew BritainCTM.S. in School Counseling7/8/20083/31/2023
Gallaudet UniversityWashingtonDCM.A. in School Counseling9/1/19913/31/2024
Hodges UniversityFt. MyersFLM.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/11/20123/31/2022
Thomas UniversityThomasvilleGAM.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling1/13/201610/31/2023
University of Hawai’i ManoaHonoluluHIM.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling7/1/201710/31/2020
Adler UniversityChicagoILM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/7/201510/31/2023
Bradley UniversityPeoriaILM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/9/201410/31/2023
Bradley UniversityPeoriaILM.A. in School Counseling9/1/199010/31/2023
Concordia University ChicagoRiver ForestILM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/15/20123/31/2024
Northwestern UniversityEvanstonILM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/9/20133/31/2031
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – OnlineChicagoILM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/12/20163/31/2026
Grace CollegeWinona LakeINM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/1/200310/31/2029
Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarionINM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/15/201210/31/2024
Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarionINM.A. in School Counseling7/10/200510/31/2024
Asbury Theological SeminaryWilmoreKYM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/7/201510/31/2024
Lindsey Wilson CollegeColumbiaKYM.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling10/1/199410/31/2023
University of KentuckyLexingtonKYM.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling7/1/201710/31/2030
University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburgKYEd.D./Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision7/14/20143/31/2024
University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburgKYM.A. in Addiction Counseling7/31/20143/31/2024
University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburgKYM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/14/20143/31/2024
University of Louisiana at MonroeMonroeLAM.Ed. in School Counseling9/1/19873/31/2025
University of Louisiana at MonroeMonroeLAM.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/11/20123/31/2025
Capella UniversityMinneapolisMNMS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling3/1/20023/31/2028
Capella UniversityMinneapolisMNMS in School Counseling – Child and Adolescent Counseling1/1/20043/31/2028
Capella UniversityMinneapolisMNMS in School Counseling – Addiction Treatment and Recovery1/16/20083/31/2028
Capella UniversityMinneapolisMNMS in School Counseling – General School Counseling1/9/20143/31/2028
Walden UniversityMinneapolisMNM.S. in Addiction Counseling7/5/20153/31/2025
Walden UniversityMinneapolisMNM.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/5/20153/31/2025
Walden UniversityMinneapolisMNM.S. in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling7/11/20123/31/2025
Walden UniversityMinneapolisMNM.S. in School Counseling7/5/20153/31/2025
Walden UniversityMinneapolisMNPh.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision7/11/20123/31/2025
North Carolina Central UniversityDurhamNCM.A. in Career Counseling7/7/200410/31/2030
North Carolina Central UniversityDurhamNCM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/14/201210/31/2030
North Carolina Central UniversityDurhamNCM.A. in School Counseling7/7/200410/31/2030
North Carolina State UniversityRaleighNCM.Ed./M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/12/20113/31/2024
North Carolina State UniversityRaleighNCM.Ed./M.S. in School Counseling10/1/19963/31/2024
North Carolina State UniversityRaleighNCM.Ed./M.S. in Student Affairs and College Counseling9/1/19883/31/2024
University of North Carolina at PembrokePembrokeNCM.A.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/14/20113/31/2029
University of North Carolina at PembrokePembrokeNCM.A.Ed. in School Counseling7/14/20113/31/2029
Wake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemNCM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/15/200910/31/2026
Wake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemNCM.A. in School Counseling10/1/199310/31/2026
Bellevue UniversityBellevueNEM.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/13/201610/31/2025
Wayne State CollegeWayneNEM.S.E. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/14/20143/31/2024
Antioch University New EnglandKeeneNHM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/13/201810/31/2025
St. Bonaventure UniversitySt. BonaventureNYM.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/5/201510/31/2024
St. Bonaventure UniversitySt. BonaventureNYM.S.Ed. in School Counseling1/16/200710/31/2024
Malone UniversityCantonOHM.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/5/201010/31/2024
Union Institute and UniversityCincinnatiOHM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/12/20163/31/2026
Wright State UniversityDaytonOHMRC in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling1/14/201610/31/2027
Oregon State UniversityCorvallisORM. Coun. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/14/20143/31/2024
Oregon State UniversityCorvallisORPh.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision9/1/19913/31/2024
Lock Haven University (Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania, Lock Haven Campus)Lock HavenPAM.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/7/201510/31/2024
Messiah University (previously Messiah College)MechanicsburgPAM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/12/201110/31/2028
Messiah University (previously Messiah College)MechanicsburgPAM.A. in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling1/12/201110/31/2028
Messiah University (previously Messiah College)MechanicsburgPAM.A. in School Counseling1/12/201110/31/2028
Shippensburg UniversityShippensburgPAEd.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision7/18/20183/31/2024
Freed-Hardeman UniversityHendersonTNM.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/18/20183/31/2024
Lamar UniversityBeaumontTXM.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/7/201510/31/2020
University of Houston VictoriaVictoriaTXM.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/7/201510/31/2026
University of Houston VictoriaVictoriaTXM.Ed. in School Counseling1/17/200910/31/2026
College of William and MaryWilliamsburgVAM.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/9/201410/31/2023
College of William and MaryWilliamsburgVAM.Ed. in School Counseling4/1/199810/31/2023
Liberty UniversityLynchburgVAM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/19/20173/31/2024
Liberty UniversityLynchburgVAPh.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision5/12/20163/31/2024
Liberty University – School of Behavioral SciencesLynchburgVAM.Ed. in School Counseling1/9/20143/31/2024
Regent UniversityVirginia BeachVAM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling7/14/20143/31/2024
Regent UniversityVirginia BeachVAM.A. in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling7/14/20143/31/2024
Regent UniversityVirginia BeachVAM.A. in School Counseling4/1/19993/31/2024
Regent UniversityVirginia BeachVAPh.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision7/18/20063/31/2024
Marshall UniversitySouth CharlestonWVM.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling1/13/201610/31/2025
Marshall UniversitySouth CharlestonWVM.A. in School Counseling1/13/201610/31/2025

Bottom Line

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has the full mandate to certify education programs majoring in counseling education. The organization provides leadership in the counseling field by promoting high standards in counseling education and educational disciplines related to counseling. Therefore, CACREP-accredited programs are perceived to have met all the accrediting bodies ‘ academic and non-educational standards. Before pursuing a specific graduate degree program, it is vital to ensure that it has been accredited and displays the CACREP seal. This ensures that the knowledge, skills, and clinical practice experience received from the program are of high quality and value in the professional field.

The accreditation process is not mandatory. However, most states require students taking the state licensing exams to have graduated from a CACREP-accredited program. Graduating from an accredited program enables students to pursue several career opportunities in different counseling specialties. They also enjoy an increased employability rate compared to those graduating from non-accredited counseling programs.

To become accredited, a program must meet specific requirements. They must submit a self-study report to help the CACREP Board of Directors ascertain whether the program has met the standards. If the program gets accredited, it must meet certain obligations to maintain its CACREP accreditation, such as remitting the annual accreditation fee.

How to Choose a Program

When researching CACREP-accredited counseling programs, it’s important to consider several factors beyond just affordability. While cost is certainly an important consideration, it’s equally important to ensure that the program you choose meets your academic and career goals.

One of the key factors to consider is the type of counseling specialization that the program offers. CACREP-accredited programs offer a range of counseling specializations, including school counseling, mental health counseling, addiction counseling, and marriage and family therapy.

It’s important to choose a program that offers a specialization that aligns with your career goals. For example, if you’re interested in working as a school counselor, you’ll want to choose a program that offers a specialization in school counseling. Similarly, if you’re interested in working with individuals who have substance abuse issues, you’ll want to choose a program that offers a specialization in addiction counseling.

Another important factor to consider is the program’s delivery format. Many CACREP-accredited counseling programs are offered online, which can be a convenient option for students who need flexibility in their schedules. However, it’s important to ensure that the program’s online format meets your learning style and needs.

You should also consider the program’s accreditation status. While CACREP accreditation is a mark of quality, there are other accrediting agencies that evaluate counseling programs, such as the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).

Finally, it’s important to consider the program’s admission requirements and application process. Some programs may require a certain GPA or specific prerequisites, while others may require letters of recommendation or a personal statement. Understanding the admission requirements can help you prepare a competitive application.

We hope our list of the most affordable online counseling degrees with CACREP accreditation will help you choose the best CACREP-accredited program to pursue.

Sources
https://degree.lamar.edu/programs/master-of-education-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling/

https://www.bellevue.edu/degrees/master/clinical-mental-health-counseling-ms/

NCSU Counselor Education Program

https://www.regent.edu/school-of-psychology-and-counseling/program/ma-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling/

https://www.regent.edu/school-of-psychology-and-counseling/program/ma-in-marriage-couple-family-counseling/

https://online.lindsey.edu/programs/chd/

https://www.lindsey.edu/academics/majors-and-programs/Education-Master-Human-Service/course-descriptions.cfm

https://education-human-services.wright.edu/human-services/master-of-rehabilitation-counseling-addiction-counseling#academics

https://education-human-services.wright.edu/human-services/master-of-science-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling

https://catalog.wright.edu/preview_program.php?poid=6921&catoid=11

https://education-human-services.wright.edu/human-services/master-of-clinical-rehabilitation-counseling#academics

https://catalog.wright.edu/preview_program.php?poid=6948&catoid=11

University of Hawai’i at Manoa Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science

https://www.gallaudet.edu/academic-catalog/graduate-education/departments-and-programs/department-of-counseling/summers-and-online-school-counseling

https://www.ucumberlands.edu/academics/graduate/programs/masters-addiction-counseling

https://www.ucumberlands.edu/academics/graduate/programs/masters-clinical-mental-health-counseling

https://myunion.edu/academics/masters/clinical-mental-health-counseling

Popular Online Counseling Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.