COAMFTE vs CACREP Accreditation

I’m Joy Corby. And I’m from the Evangelical Seminary, Myerstown, Pennsylvania. And I’m here today to describe to you the difference between COAMFTE accreditation and CACREP accreditation. Before I describe the difference between those two accreditation agencies, you need to know that the MFT program at Evangelical is really the only true MFT program and certainly the only true Christian MFT program in Central Pennsylvania. Hearing the difference between these two accreditations will help you understand why the statement that I just said is true.

First of all, what is COAMFTE? It stands for the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. And it is the accrediting agency for marriage and family therapy education and training. It’s recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, known as CHEA, as the only accrediting agency for graduate degree in clinical training programs in marriage and family therapy in the United States and Canada.

For COAMFTE accreditation, there are seven foundational curriculum areas that programs must have and it includes these seven things. First is the foundations of relational and systemic practice theories and models. And each of these areas needs a certain amount of credits. The secondary is clinical treatment with individuals, couples, and families. Third is the diverse multicultural and/or underserved communities. Fourth is research and evaluation. Fifth is professional identity, law, ethics, and social responsibility. Sixth is the biopsychosocial health and development across the lifespan. And seventh, lastly, is the systemic relational assessment and mental health diagnosis and treatment.

There are two other areas that must also be covered in some way in the courses. These two areas are contemporary issues and community intersections and collaboration. There are two other components that must be part of COAMFTE schools. First is students must develop or present an integrative or capstone experience and the foundational practice component, known as the practicum or internship, is inclusive of supervision with an MFT-approved supervisor. All of what I’ve just explained meet the requirements for MFT state licensure. And a graduating student receives a master’s in marriage and family therapy.

And now for CACREP accreditation. It stands for Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs. CACREP is the recognized training standard for counselors by the Institute of Medicine now known as the National Academy of Medicine and by the Veterans Administration.

In most states, it meets the curriculum required for educational training for counseling licensure and its specialties, one of which is marriage, couple and family counseling. The curriculum meets requirements for counselors which is very different from curriculum for marriage and family therapists. The focus is on training counselors, not on training marriage and family therapists. A graduating student receives a degree, a master’s in counseling with maybe a track in marriage, couple and family counseling, which means the student only receives a few marriage and family therapy-focused courses.

For students earning a degree from a COMFTE accredited program, like that at Evangelical, it ensures several things. First, it ensures that you will receive a quality education in marriage and family therapy that’s been evaluated and has met accepted standards established by the profession. Two, it ensures the program does what it promises on its website and promotional materials. Three, it ensures you to be prepared for licensure as a marriage and family therapist. And fourth, it ensures you will meet the educational requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist.

The masters or MA in MFT at Evangelical is a COMFTE accredited program. We will train you to become a true marriage and family therapist by providing all the necessary coursework that focuses on the relational systemic theories of marriage and family therapy at all times and in all courses. Did you know that according to “U.S. News & World Report,” their 100 Best Jobs for 2018, that marriage and family therapy was rated and ranked number 59? So, come attend Evangelical’s MA MFT program and receive a true MFT education where relational formation flows through presence, person and practice.