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UHV counseling education degrees re-accredited by national organization

Aug. 23, 2014 at 1 p.m.

Jennifer Boswell

Two University of Houston-Victoria counseling education master's degree programs were re-accredited for the next four years by the U.S. counselor preparation accrediting body.

The UHV Master of Education degrees in clinical mental health counseling and in-school counseling received re-accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational programs. The accreditations will last through October 2018.

CACREP is an accrediting body that grants accredited status to graduate-level programs in the professional counseling field.

Earning re-accreditation puts the UHV School of Education and Human Development in elite company. UHV is the only CACREP-accredited school in the area and one of 13 in Texas.

"CACREP ensures that programs meet the gold standard in training future counselors," said Jennifer Boswell, a UHV assistant professor of counseling who headed up re-accreditation efforts. "Re-accreditation is not an easy process for a program to undergo. It took support from our school and university administrators."

UHV initially was accredited in 2010 by CACREP. The initial accreditation took about 18 months to complete.

"I'd like to thank Dr. Boswell and the entire counseling faculty for preparing for and carrying out our re-accreditation," said Fred Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education and Human Development. "To be recognized in the highest possible level for counseling education is a tribute to our terrific faculty and programs."

The initial accreditation process included a self-study and a CACREP site team visit. The self-study consisted of an in-depth evaluation of the program's resources, teaching methods, faculty training and preparedness.

"The study allowed us to determine what accreditation standards were being met and which needed to be addressed," Boswell said.

The study was sent to the CACREP board, which then dispatched a site team to visit the university and talk with faculty, administrators, and current and past students.

CACREP required UHV to complete an interim report this year. The report described how the education school will address additional CACREP standards. The CACREP board was satisfied with the report and granted UHV four additional years of accreditation, Boswell said.

Even though earning and keeping accreditation is rigorous, Boswell said the end result was well worth the work.

"We thought it was important to work diligently to meet the CACREP standards and requirements because accreditation is only granted to the top counselor preparation and training programs," she said. "While there are many employment opportunities available to students graduating from counseling programs, those coming from CACREP-accredited programs tend to have more prospects. In fact, some employers are beginning to include CACREP graduate language in their position advertisements."

Students graduating from a CACREP-accredited program qualify to take the National Certified Counselor Exam used by most states for Licensed Professional Counselors licensure and are afforded numerous employment opportunities with national and federal agencies such as Veterans Affairs.

The student affairs and college counseling degree track is next on the list for possible accreditation. Faculty will begin that self-study this fall, Boswell said.

In addition to UHV master's degree programs in school counseling, and student affairs and college counseling, a new 60-credit-hour master's degree in clinical mental health counseling will take the place of the 48-credit-hour community counseling track starting this fall. CACREP is requiring that all 48-credit-hour community counseling programs convert to 60-hour clinical mental health counseling programs.

For information about the programs, contact Reese Alexander, UHV education recruitment coordinator, at 281-275-3370 or email alexanderjr@uhv.edu.

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