A&M-Central Texas Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Earns National Accreditation

A local business organization spearheading efforts to bring more companies to the Killeen Interstate 14 corridor is making headway on getting a new research facility to be built on the grounds of Texas A&M University-Central Texas. Monday, Aug 26, 2019

A&M-Central Texas Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Earns National Accreditation

In photo above, program faculty from left to right: Assistant Professor Gerald Pennie, Assistant Professor Samantha Airhart-Larraga, Assistant Professor Jeremy Berry, and Assistant Professor Levi McClendon.

A&M-Central Texas officials announced 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 Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program (M.S.) in the College of Education.

Dr. Jeremy Berry, Assistant Professor of Counseling and Psychology and Graduate Coordinator for the program, acknowledged his colleagues within the program for their many contributions to the successful outcome.

“Whenever a program seeks accreditation at a national level, it is an endeavor to demonstrate the strength of the program and its alignment with very high standards,” he said. “We answered that challenge, and we are thrilled to be included among the nation’s accredited counseling programs.”

One advantage, Berry emphasized, is that CACREP is the preferred accreditation standard for the VA and most counseling-related careers within the military.

Interim Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Kellie Cude, applauded the efforts of faculty and staff in the department, noting that graduate students in the program also played an important role in the accreditation process by sharing their experiences in interviews during the site visit.

Dr. Sam Fiala, Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Counseling and Psychology Department, acknowledged the University’s academic leadership, Provost Dr. Peg Gray-Vickrey and University President, Dr. Marc Nigliazzo, for their support.

“It’s no secret that 2018 was a challenging year for a lot of universities because budgets were stretched so thin,” he said. “Our leadership supported our efforts to add two new faculty to the two original faculty in the department and that, among everything else, contributed significantly to this positive outcome. We are very grateful for their support.”

A long-standing program in the College of Education, the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program has a long history, having been originally developed in the mid 1980s as a part of the graduate programs offered by American Technological University.

Since then, hundreds of the program’s alumni have joined the professional practice of mental health services in Central Texas, the State, and the nation.

Dr. Berry added that the program has seen recent enrollment growth as it made significant progress toward accreditation with the addition of two new faculty members and that he expects to see more growth in the future.

University President, Dr. Marc Nigliazzo, praised the faculty, staff, and students who were a part of the accreditation process for the program, noting that more and more often, the University’s graduate and undergraduate programs are being recognized by national entities for their exceptional quality.

“When A&M-Central Texas opened its doors ten years ago, we knew we had a lot to live up to as the 10th of 11 regional universities affiliated with The Texas A&M University System,” he said.

“But we also knew then that those who initiated and built these programs years ago, and who have sustained and grown them between then and now, have been some of the most talented and dedicated people we could have hoped for. It’s entirely to their credit that we’ve have another example of the quality of our programs.”

For more information on the program, visit the University website at or contact the A&M-Central Texas College of Education for admissions information.

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