Southwest Counseling Degree Achieves CACREP Accreditation


Seminary of the Southwest is the first and only institution in Austin with a Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree that holds CACREP accreditation status.

Seminary of the Southwest is pleased to announce that the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to the Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offered at Southwest through the The Loise Henderson Wessendorff Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation.

“CACREP accreditation signifies that the Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree is of the highest quality by the professional standards of the field. Counseling students at Seminary of the Southwest benefit from the best from both the discipline of psychology and the rich tradition of Christian theology. The visiting team from CACREP commended this integration as one of the hallmarks of our program,” said The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President of Seminary of the Southwest.

Seminary of the Southwest is the first and currently the only institution in Austin to offer a Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree that holds CACREP accreditation status. Students who graduate with this degree will now be certified to work with a much larger pool of potential clients, including those eligible for Veterans Administration benefits. With large military communities in Killeen and San Antonio, and with mental health care identified as a growing deficiency in veteran populations – the need for more Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) with CACREP accredited degrees in Central Texas is pressing.

The Rev. Dave Scheider, Director of The Loise Henderson Wessendorff Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation, notes the significant impact of having a CACREP accredited school in Central Texas, “CACREP graduates are the only LPCs that the federal government will employee. This means that a CACREP graduate can work for the VA, military installations, and TRI-CARE insurance (the only health care for military retirees, active duty service members and their family members). CACREP grads can also apply for federal loan forgiveness if they work in qualifying regions that lack health care providers, like areas of East Texas.”

Dean Kittredge also noted that the achievement of this significant standard could not have been possible without the support of significant supporters in the state of Texas. Said Kittredge, “This substantial milestone would never have come to fruition without our friends at The Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation. Both of these organizations saw the potential in this degree program and the value it could bring to all communities in the state of Texas and beyond. Their investments in the seminary were forward-thinking, and allowed us to hire the faculty and create the curricula and infrastructure to achieve the very rigorous CACREP accreditation standards. I am proud of both these foundations, as well as our dedicated faculty and staff, and grateful for their commitment to the mission of The Loise Henderson Wessendorff Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation.”

Scheider, an ordained priest and licensed counselor who also served as a military chaplain for 25 years, stated, “CACREP ensures the most thorough training of a counseling student with twice as many supervised practicum hours than other counseling degrees. That means that the CACREP graduate is better trained by the time they graduate and become a post grad intern. Better training increases confidence in the counselor and it reduces risk for their future clients.”