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CACREP degree to be required for counselor licensure in Ohio

By Bethany Bray May 13, 2014

ohioA major change in the educational requirements for counselors looking to become licensed is coming to Ohio.

Starting in 2018, a counselor graduating from an Ohio counselor program designed for licensure will need to have graduated from a clinical mental health, clinical rehabilitation or addiction counseling program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) to be considered for licensure in Ohio.

Ohio will be the first U.S. state to require a CACREP degree for licensure.

Ohio’s state Legislature passed a bill this spring changing the requirement. The new law takes effect July 9.

Roughly 18 of the 23 graduate counseling programs across Ohio are currently accredited by CACREP. The few programs that aren’t are working on becoming accredited, according to Jim Rough, executive director of Ohio’s Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board.

Ohio’s counselor-educator community was involved with and supportive of the bill’s more than three-year journey to become law, according to Rough.

Ohio counselors who are licensed prior to July will be “grandfathered” in, and the change will not affect these counselors, he says. Additionally, counselors who have graduated from a CACREP-accredited clinical mental health, clinical rehabilitation or addiction counseling programs from outside the state will automatically meet the educational requirements for licensure in Ohio.

“I think we’ve made this [bill] as inclusive as we possibly can,” Rough says says. “Everybody talks about [licensure] portability – here is a step toward simplifying things for everybody.”




For more information


Read the full bill here (search for section 4757.23):


Ohio’s Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board (click on “what’s new” for details about the bill):


CACREP website:


An open letter from ACA President Cirecie West-Olatunji and President-Elect Robert Smith:



Bethany Bray is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at


Letters to the editor:


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  1. John Burik

    On the whole, Ohio’s done a good job with the new law that went into effect this week (7/10/14). Mandatory CACREP is set far enough in the future (2018) for students to make an informed decision about their education. We’ve given our Board some latitude in determining whether an out of state applicant’s non-CACREP transcript and supervision is up to standard. I wish we’d extended this authority to in-state programs as well, but legislation is a give and take process.

    The real travesty is at the national level, for example, the absolute deadline of December 31st, 2014 at Tricare that will forever ban non-CACREP counselors who have not utilized the current limited loophole. That’s just wrong. We need alternate to pathways to demonstrate competence and the possibility of remediating any deficiency in one’s transcript. In order to represent all its membership — and likely the majority of members — that should be a top priority in ACA’s advocacy efforts.

    1. Vicki Melancon

      I completely agree with John Burik. I had just graduated with my degree from a non-CACREP school when this law was enacted. That year, my college embarked on becoming accredited and now is approved. But, what happens to me and my colleagues who finished school “too soon”? There should be a defiency program! Don’t just disqualify us because of something that was not under our control. We may be great candidates for the positions, but we will be discriminated against and excluded from consideration. Not right!

  2. Jeremy D.

    What about those of us who completed CORE-accredited graduate programs and completed mental health counseling coursework before there were even standards for “clinical rehabilitation counseling”? It really feels like ACA or CACREP care much about rehabilitation counselors, even if the programs we graduated from in the past would have met the “clinical rehabilitation counseling” standards available today. I get so tired of this.

  3. Jeremy D.

    Correction: “The ACA and CACREP don’t care much about rehabilitation counselors…”

    Rehabilitation counselors (the “non-clinical” kind) seem to really get a raw deal any time the ACA or CACREP engage in advocacy and legislation efforts.

  4. Erin

    I am currently in a non-CACREP degree that is a Master’s of Counseling Psychology Program in Pennsylvania. If I were to want to get a job in Ohio would this be completely out of the question for someone like me? Since my school has followed the CACREP standards in their courses for counselors, will I be able to get my credits okayed by the Ohio Board?

    Any thoughts?

  5. Dee

    I will not be moving to Ohio or any other states that seeks to limit licensure to graduates from non-cacrep schools. There is nothing all inclusive about these decisions. If you really want to promote license portability, this is definitely not the way to go.

  6. Dana

    In 2013, moved to Ohio from another state. It’s been a positive experience overall, but the strict licensure requirements are a major hurdle. For instance, I was independently-licensed in my home state, but despite 20 years of experience, a CACREP-accredited counseling degree, and over 3,000 hours of post-masters supervised experience, I was not able to automatically transfer my license. Note that I said my program was ALREADY CACREP-accredited. I was eventually granted my LPC based on out-of-state endorsement, but not my LPCC. Ugh. I am now studying for the LPCC exam (material I haven’t seen academically in almost 20 years). It is what it is, but this level of strict law prohibits good, experienced counselors from ever moving here. In fact, I would advise anyone from out of state to strongly reconsider moving here, unless they plan to jump through lots and lots of hoops. My spouse is a teacher, and Ohio also has strict rules and over-the-top requirements to prove your worth as a teacher, even after you’ve been teaching for 20 years. This rule about CACREP is just one more in a long list of ways the Ohio government makes life harder for its dedicated professionals. As a positive, I feel like there are a decent number of jobs here, and the mental health services here are good.

  7. A C

    You can blame the Republicans for this. Notice it’s only this state that has these issues. This program isn’t about treatment quality or education quality… it’s about limiting opportunities to become a therapist to friends of those already in the field. Outsiders forbidden. All to keep up the curse on this country that is Christian orthodoxy and patriarchy.

  8. W. Mon

    I know this is an older article, but now we are seeing this same requirement pop up in many other states. There is clearly an organized push for this, and it is excluding very qualified graduates of similar programs. I graduated from a CACREP program, but I can’t help but feel like these rules are targeted at excluding Master’s Level Counseling Psychologists from becoming LPCs. I’ve worked with some MA Counseling Psychologists, they can be totally great. This just seems really petty to me.

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