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CACREP Accreditation

Accredited MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the recognized gold standard for mental health counseling training.

CACREP Accredited Online Master's in Counseling Programs

PAU is a Fully-Accredited Program

Palo Alto University’s accredited programs and faculty training meet or exceed CACREP standards, reflecting our commitment to providing the highest quality of training for all students.  

Online and hybrid formats are available.


Why is CACREP Accreditation Important?

  • Universities that are accredited reflect meeting and/or exceeding those standards of quality within their program as set forth by the council.
  • Accreditation also reflects the institution's commitment to providing the highest level of care for its student.
  • CACREP provides guidance to institutions in determining acceptability of transfer credits into a CACREP program.
  • Graduates from a CACREP program have the tools to perform better on their Licensure exam and certification.
  • CACREP programs are easily portable across other states to meet the education requirements for licensure.
  • Various government agencies, such as the Veterans Health Administration, primarily hire CACREP graduates.

Learn More About CACREP Accreditation

What is CACREP?

In the field of mental health counseling programs, the accreditation most often associated is CACREP: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program. In order for any organization to get CACREP accreditation, they must adhere to the standards set forth by the council.

Visit CACREP website

Palo Alto University CACREP Accredited Counseling Program

The MA in Counseling program is designed to provide the tools for individuals to become qualified and trained clinicians.

Palo Alto University was accredited in January 2017 and received the maximum of eight (8) years CACREP accreditation

Mission of the MA in Counseling Degree Program

The MA in Counseling program is a diverse and dynamic community dedicated to the development of highly effective mental health counselors, future leaders and innovators in the counseling profession. In and through its training of burgeoning counselors, the program strives to benefit society and reduce human suffering by promoting mental health, wellness, social justice, education, and vocational well-being.

The program is committed to five core values: creating and nurturing a diverse and inclusive learning community for all students, faculty, and staff; providing excellent education and clinical supervision for students; promoting healing and empowerment by addressing social privilege and oppression; generating knowledge through research and scholarship of the highest level; and providing services to the local, national and international community informed by science and scholarship.

Program and Student Learning Outcomes of the MA in Counseling Degree Program

  • Outcome 1- Professional identity and ethical practice. Graduates will have developed a professional identity as a counselor in alignment with ethical and legal standards of practice as well as the dispositions related to effective practice including integrity, sensitivity, flexibility, insight, compassion, and personal presence. (2.F.1.i, 2.F.1.k.)
  • Outcome 2 - Social justice and cultural diversity. Graduates will have developed an understanding of various cultures and the implications of diversity for social justice and advocacy. Graduates will have demonstrated insights into the social and psychological implications of socioeconomic position and how power, privilege, and oppression can affect an individual's mental health and recovery. (2.F.2.c, 2.F.2.e, 2.F.2.h)
  • Outcome 3 - Human growth and development. Graduates will have incorporated the theories and principles of optimal lifespan development towards promoting resilience and wellness across the lifespan. (2.F.3.a, 2.F.3.i.)
  • Outcome 4 - Career development. Graduates will have demonstrated the ability to advocate for clients’ diverse career needs and educational development using theories and models of career development (2.F.4.a., 2.F.4.g.)
  • Outcome 5 - Counseling and systemic practice. Graduates will have applied theories and models of counseling through essential interviewing, counseling, and case conceptualization skills and will have integrated a systems approach to conceptualizing client development, presenting issues, and counseling strategies and approaches. (2.F.5.a, 2.F.5.b, 2.F.5.g)
  • Outcome 6 - Group counseling and effective leadership. Graduates will have incorporated theoretical foundations of group work to become a group process facilitator and a positive force in achieving high levels of participation, cooperation and cohesion in group counseling settings. (2.F.6.a, 2.F.6.b)
  • Outcome 7 - Assessment and testing. Graduates will have acquired, refined, and demonstrated appropriate ability to assess client issues for diagnosis and treatment planning.  (2.F.7.b, 2.F.7.e)
  • Outcome 8 - Research and program evaluation. Graduates will have demonstrated the ability to critique research in order to incorporate evidence-based counseling practices in a variety of settings. (2.F.8.a, 2.F.8.b)
  • Outcome 9 (MFC track only) - Professional practice. Graduates will have acquired, refined, and demonstrated appropriate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to effectively work with couples, families, and other systems in a variety of settings. (5.F.1.f, 5.F.2.a, 5.F.3.c)
  • Outcome 10 (CMHC track only) - Professional practice. Graduates will have acquired, refined, and demonstrated appropriate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to effectively assess, diagnose, and treat clients in a variety of settings. (5.C.1.e, 5.C.2.d, 5.C.3.b)

Counseling Annual Data Report

2022-2023 Annual Data Report

The Department of Counseling (MFCC and CMHC tracks) has developed and implemented a comprehensive assessment plan that guides both student-level and program-level assessment. As required by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the counseling faculty participate in an annual review of curriculum, processes, student learning, and student and program outcomes through a systematic process of evaluation and assessment.

In December 2022 the Palo Alto University Counseling faculty and staff reviewed the research findings on students, graduates, and clinical supervisors and employers of our students and graduates. The period of examination is from September 2021 through June 2022.

As required by CACREP, the Department of Counseling publishes an annual data report on its website and shares the posting of this data with students, faculty, site supervisors, alumni, and university leadership. The 2022-2023 report is posted here.

In addition, the Department of Counseling collects and posts each year outcome data as required by CACREP to include student graduation rates, completion rates, employment data, and licensure pass rates on credentialing exams. This data for 2022-2023 is found in the CMHC Outcomes Report and the MFCC Outcomes Report.  

MA Counseling Commencement Photo with Will Snow
Expert Faculty

Palo Alto University has faculty that are CACREP-trained, which reflects the institute's commitment to providing education of the highest quality.