An exclusive national accreditation organization has awarded eight-year re-accreditations to the two degrees that are part of the University of Houston-Victoria School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development graduate counseling education program.

The Master of Education degrees in clinical mental health and school counseling were re-accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs, which sets national standards for counselor training programs.

Both degrees previously were re-accredited in 2014. The clinical mental health degree was re-accredited for two years in 2016 after the school expanded the degree program from 48 to 60 credit hours. UHV’s program has two of 49 CACREP-accredited master’s degrees in Texas, although UHV offers the only CACREP-accredited school counseling and clinical mental health counseling degrees in the Victoria and Greater Houston areas.

“CACREP is the gold standard for counseling programs, so earning an eight-year re-accreditation is a momentous achievement,” said Fred Litton, dean of the school. “I cannot praise the programs’ faculty and staff enough for their constant efforts to ensure UHV’s students receive an education with such a prestigious stamp of approval.”

Receiving CACREP accreditation is an intensive process that involves tracking information in different areas of the university’s program, said Rachel Martinez, associate dean of the school and an associate professor of special education. The faculty and staff put together comprehensive reports containing information that includes the program’s courses, faculty members’ credentials, internship programs, feedback from students and their employers, and reports about how students perform after graduating from the program.

Once the reports were submitted to CACREP, the group reviewed them and conducted a site visit. For UHV, this meant a visit to both the Victoria campus and the UHV Katy instructional site. After the site visits, the group sent the university a review of everything along with some follow-up questions. Once those questions were answered, the programs were accredited.

“These accreditations are testaments to the excellence and commitment of the counseling education program’s faculty and the school’s staff,” Martinez said. “The sheer amount of data that is constantly collected for the accreditation and renewal process is enormous. Their diligence has paid off with these outstanding accreditations.”

CACREP accreditation is a massive undertaking, said Ron Monachello, assistant professor and coordinator for the graduate counseling education program. The faculty spent countless hours compiling and preparing reports and information in order to earn the accreditation. Some of the counseling faculty members who took the lead during the process were associate professors Linda Autry and Katherine Bacon, assistant professor Wayne Smith and former program chair Jennifer Boswell, who is no longer at UHV.

Accreditation is especially important because it comes with benefits for the university’s students, said Ron Monachello, assistant professor and coordinator for the graduate counseling education program. Because CACREP is known for its high standards, graduating from an accredited program leads to opportunities that may not be available to others. For example, some employers, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, require counselors to have a degree from a CACREP-accredited program.

“CACREP holds programs to a high standard in terms of quality and accountability,” Monachello said. “When potential employers see that endorsement connected to UHV’s program, they know our students earned a degree from a program that gave them the best and most up-to-date training available.”

To learn more about the programs, contact Monachello at 281-396-3716 or monachellor@uhv.edu.

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