|Action||Requirement for CACREP accreditation for educational programs|
|Comment Period||Ends 7/1/2015|
I am writing in response to the proposed requirement for CACREP or CORE accreditation for educational programs in Virginia. I am writing from the perspective of an Assistant Professor in the Counseling and Development Program at George Mason University, a nationally certified counselor (soon to be licensed), and a graduate from a CACREP program at the Masters (Minnesota State University) and PhD (University of Iowa) level. From this perspective I want to strongly encourage that the Board rejects this proposal. From my experience, the proposed CACREP-only license regulations (e.g., graduation from a clinically-focused counselor preparation program accredited by CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP that includes a minimum of 60 semester credits of curricular experiences and a practicum of at least 100 hours and an internship of at least 600 hours) lack substantial evidence of effectiveness in terms of counselor training or performance.
Having trained counselor in both CACREP and Non-CACREP programs, I am firmly convinced that a lot more goes into the preparation of culturally responsive counselors than the number or credit hours or practicum and internship experience hours required. Simply put, pre-service counselors in CACREP programs come out as no more effective than students from Non-CACREP programs. The differences, if any, between CACREP and Non-CACREP programs quickly fall apart upon examination. I believe the strength of Virginia is our autonomy to determine criteria for licensure for those who wish to serve our fellow-citizens. Furthermore, I believe each state should welcome the opportunity to dictate state licensure laws regarding training that meet the best interest of the citizens in which they represent. Allowing an accreditation body to dictate state licensure laws is harmful for university training programs in Virginia and establishes a very dangerous national trend whereby states lose their autonomy to determine criteria for licensure.
In summary I am strongly opposed to this legislation and I am highly concerned about the danger of state licensure boards joining accreditation agencies to formulate policy and regulations.