In 2015, I switched majors from my almost done teaching degree that had been on hold for several years, to an Interdisciplinary with an emphasis in Psychology at Liberty University. My goal was to finish and get a Master’s in Counseling and work with grief and trauma clients.
In the two years I’ve been at this, I’ve often wondered if I would ever see the end. But I’m almost there. The past year I’ve only taken 1-2 classes per semester to allow me to still be with the girls, and quite honestly focus on doing really well in the class instead of being stressed out and always freaked I was missing something that was due that day.
So it took me a lot longer than it might have had I done full-time. This semester starts the end of the month, I’m taking two classes. I’ll end right before Christmas, and my last class (LAST CLASS OMG) will be in January.
Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash
MY LAST CLASS.
It’s crazy to write that.
From there, I have enough Psych and other credits to move into a Master’s just about anywhere.
But. Here’s the catch (because always).
Liberty applied to have their online Master’s in Professional Counseling CACREP accredited last year. A decision was to be made this July. CACREP is (this puts it much better than I’d be able to):
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, commonly known as CACREP, is a specialized accrediting body that assures graduate counseling programs—both on-campus and online CACREP-accredited programs—throughout the United States and the world meet standards within the counseling profession. Read more at Walden University
Liberty’s residential program was already approved by them. So is their online school counseling program. So I was thrilled to find out they were applying to have their Professional Counseling CACREP accredited because that’s the only type of accreditation for counseling Tricare (military insurance) accepts, as well as a growing number of states and other organizations. See here: http://www.cacrep.org/value-of-accreditation/federal-regulations/
We live in a military town. With Sam as a disabled veteran, we’d always need to live very close to a military town to keep access to his care. The only college here isn’t CACREP accredited and isn’t in the process of becoming it. So this was wonderful news as I truly wanted to stay with Liberty since I like the format of their program, I wasn’t able to go to a residential college (the next nearest is like 5 hours away), and I needed to attend one that was accredited.
This July, as I stalked the CACREP page for updates, I realized that while several other programs were approved, Liberty’s online counseling had disappeared. I checked with them, checked with Liberty – and in a few days they put up a page saying that they had withdrawn their application from CACREP in order to work on their program and didn’t have a timeline of when they might resubmit and how long it would take from there.
I was so disappointed. I really felt like I had been on the right track with Liberty and the Master’s program. I’d planned my whole two last years of my degree around it. I think a lot of my intense feelings at first had to do with me finding out right before Kaden’s birthday when my emotions run high anyway.
My options after graduation become:
- Stay at Liberty. Cross my fingers that they are CACREP accredited by the time I graduate or up to 18 months after (they’ll retroactively approve the program that far back). This is a pretty big risk because, even though they were SO close to being approved, if they aren’t or aren’t in time, it really limits my options forever. Unless I want to retake my Master’s at another college.
- Change colleges. This isn’t a big deal, but I like Liberty and there isn’t another college that offers Professional Counseling online accredited by CACREP. It’s all Mental Health, School, or Marriage and Family. I really, really wanted an emphasis in trauma, but honestly that’s been hard to find and seems like it’s something you have to do after you get your Master’s. Liberty also offers an amazing military discount which has allowed me to pay for a lot of my school out-of-pocket. I haven’t found another program online yet that even compares to it.
In the next few months, my main focus is to simply finish this part of my schooling. When January rolls around, then I’ll have to make some real choices about what to do. Hopefully something will be a lot clearer at that point.
I need this verse tattooed on me. Like 4 times lol.
In the meantime – I’m almost done!! Yay! What a super long journey – but so, so worth the detour and the wait.