Answer: The CACREP/CORE merger represents an affiliation between the two largest national organizations that offer accreditation and provide curricular guidelines for counseling degree programs — the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). The two bodies now have a unified accreditation process for counselor education programs, with CACREP overseeing the mission of both organizations.
On July 15, 2015, the boards of CACREP and CORE concluded that a merger between the two organizations would best serve the counseling profession by creating a unified set of criteria for the accreditation of counselor education programs. Previously, both CORE and CACREP had offered voluntary accreditation to programs that provided instruction and training in rehabilitation counseling, a counseling specialization that focuses on the needs of people with physical, mental, developmental, and emotional disabilities. In addition, CACREP had emerged as the most widely recognized national organization for the accreditation of clinical and mental health counseling programs, as well as for programs with specializations in a range of other areas, including: addiction and substance abuse counseling; career counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; and school counseling.
The CACREP/CORE merger was finalized on July 1, 2017, with CACREP taking on responsibility for both organizations’ accreditation procedures. It is important to note that this merger does not directly impact licensure requirements for Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs), Licensed Rehabilitation Counselors (LRCs), or any other licensing designation in the field of counseling. Licensing provisions for professional counselors are determined and maintained by individual states, not by CACREP, CORE, or any other accreditation organization. However, most states use CACREP and/or CORE curricular guidelines to set their own training requirements for professional counselors, and there are currently six states that require or are planning to require applicants for licensure in counseling to have graduated from a CACREP-accredited program.
The merger between CACREP and CORE was engineered to accommodate students who may already be enrolled in or graduating from a counseling program accredited by CORE and/or CACREP. The two organizations went through a pre-merger process of aligning their curricular standards in order to facilitate a smooth transition for programs that are already accredited by one or both organizations, and for the students who are attending these programs. CACREP now recognizes CORE-accredited programs and has adopted CORE’s rehabilitations counseling standards as part of its own training standards for rehabilitation counseling programs. Programs currently accredited by CORE will retain accreditation until the time of their next regularly scheduled accreditation review, which happens every eight years.
For the purposes of accreditation, CACREP requires that counseling programs employ at least three full-time faculty members with doctoral degrees in counseling education. CACREP will now accredit programs that have at least three full-time faculty members with doctoral degrees in rehabilitation counselor education. In addition, CACREP has created a five-year window during which 48-credit-hour rehabilitation counseling programs previously accredited by CORE for training in vocational and not clinical rehabilitation counseling can bring themselves up to the 60-credit-hour standard mandated by CACREP.