For Release: August 15, 2017
Contact: Marketing and Communications at 406.791.5306

GREAT FALLS, MONTANA – The University of Providence is pleased to announce that their Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling has received an initial two-year accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). President Tony Aretz says, “There is a critical shortage of licensed mental health counselors throughout the nation and our goal is to be a major regional player in helping to mitigate this shortage.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, thousands of newly licensed mental health professionals are needed to serve the needs of the overall U.S. population. The current workforce covers only 44 percent of the overall mental health caseload nationwide. Rural areas such as Montana are underserved more drastically. In fact, 78 percent of licensed mental health professionals serve residents in only eight counties of Montana. (DPHHS, 2015)

CACREP is the standard bearer for masters’ and doctoral-level counseling education programs across the U.S. Their accreditation standards include assessments of faculty, facilities, program requirements, and quality assurance for students. The University of Providence joins more than 750 other accredited programs. Graduates of CACREP accredited counseling programs are usually eligible for licensing in all 50 states. Doctoral programs prefer applicants to hold master’s degrees from CACREP accredited schools. Further, hiring agencies such as the Veterans Administration require clinical personnel to hold degrees from accredited programs.

Dr. Sylvia Lindinger-Sternart spearheaded the CACREP accreditation process for the university. “We are excited at the opportunities this accreditation opens up for our students,” she says. “I am very grateful for the support of the administration, especially (former Vice President of Academic Affairs) Dr. Timothy Laurent, who provided crucial support throughout the self-study and site visit process.” The CACREP accreditation is retroactive to include all 14 master’s in counseling graduates from May 2016.

The University of Providence is a private Catholic university located in Great Falls, Montana. Founded in 1932, the university includes both a School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a School of Health Professions. See www.uprovidence.edu.

For more on Dr. Lindinger-Sternart, see the summer 2017 issue of Signature Montana.