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What Is the Difference Between CACREP Accreditation and CAEP Accreditation?

Accrediting bodies validate the academic and educational quality of online learning.

If you’re interested in earning a degree online and are reviewing college and university accreditation sources, you may be experiencing acronym overload. If you are, don’t sweat it. While the alphabet soup of acronyms may be daunting at first, it also can be easily demystified.

Here, we explore two of the important accrediting organizations you may read about as you’re conducting your college search, particularly if you’re considering a counseling or educator preparation program.

What Is the Difference Between CACREP Accreditation and CAEP Accreditation?

What does CACREP stand for?

CACREP is short for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. CACREP accredits master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling and its related specializations at colleges and universities in the U.S. and around the world.1

Why should I choose a CACREP-accredited program?

CACREP summarizes the value of accreditation on its website: “CACREP accreditation provides recognition that the content and quality of the program has been evaluated and meets standards set by the profession. The student, as a consumer, can be assured that appropriate knowledge and skill areas are included and that the program is stable, professionally and financially.”2 CACREP accreditation is a requirement for licensure in many states.

What is CAEP?

CAEP stands for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, a nonprofit, nongovernmental agency that accredits educator preparation providers.3 CAEP is the only recognized national accreditor for educator preparation, promoting excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement.

What is the difference between CACREP accreditation and CAEP accreditation?

CACREP and CAEP are both specialized accreditors nationally recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The primary difference between the two organizations has to do with their respective focuses.

CAEP accredits educator preparation providers—reviewing departments, schools, and colleges that prepare teachers or other educators within an institution of higher education. CACREP accredits counseling programs at the master’s and doctoral degree levels.

Can you give me some examples of CACREP-accredited programs?

Walden University, an accredited institution with a 50-year history of educating working professionals through advanced degree and certificate programs, offers the following CACREP-accredited online degree programs: PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision, MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and MS in School Counseling.

Does Walden University have CAEP accreditation?

Yes, Walden is a CAEP-accredited provider for a period of seven years, from April 2019 through June 2026. This accreditation covers initial teacher preparation programs and advanced educator preparation programs. Walden University earned CAEP accreditation by meeting rigorous national standards and demonstrating excellence in the areas of content and pedagogy, clinical experiences, selectivity, program impact, and capacity for continuous improvement.

CAEP accreditation is based on a review of The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership’s initial teacher preparation programs—the BS in Elementary Education and the Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in Special Education (K–Age 21)—and advanced educator preparation programs—the EdS in Educational Leadership and Administration and the MS in Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Administration.

One more question: What is HLC?

It stands for The Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting associations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and CHEA.

Walden University has been accredited by the HLC since 1990. This accreditation validates that Walden lives its mission, operates with integrity, offers programs that focus on student learning, hires faculty that are academically qualified, and provides the resources and supports necessary for students to succeed.

Now that you can decipher these noteworthy accreditation acronyms, we hope you will move confidently toward the online college degree that offers the quality benchmarks that meet your career goals and personal high standards.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.




Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,