A descriptive review of master's level counselor educator's perceptions of academic and professional gatekeeping policies
Joffray, Julie Ann
Joffray, Julie Ann
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Counselor educators serve as gatekeepers for the counseling profession by ensuring that counselors-in-training meet professional standards of counseling competence and those who do not meet these standards are remediated or prevented from entering the counseling profession. Professional associations, such as the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) present clear directives for gatekeeping responsibilities for counselor educators; however, each program is expected to develop performance assessments and policies to ensure that these directives are met. The purpose of this study was to (a) investigate the consistency of policies and procedures across CACREP accredited counselor education programs; (b) explore counselor educators’ perceptions about the importance of gatekeeping, the support they received from institutions and, their personal involvement in gatekeeping responsibilities in their departments/universities; (c) report the collected information from this study in an effort to increase the foundation of gatekeeping knowledge and to promote consistency in gatekeeping policies and procedures. A content analysis was conduct on 106 CACREP accredited Master’s level counseling programs’ websites for gatekeeping related policies and procedures specifically related to Sections 1.M and 1.N of the 2016 CACREP Standards. The content analysis revealed inconsistencies in information content, presentation, formatting, location, and terminology. Five hundred and eleven faculty from these 106 counselor education programs received invitations to participate in survey to ascertain their participation and perceptions regarding gatekeeping. Forty-one (8%) counselor educators completed the survey. Seventy-two percent of survey contributors believed participating in gatekeeping activities is very important; 62% felt they received above average support from their institutions to perform in gatekeeping activities; and 46.5% participate in or are aware of gatekeeping activities. Forty-seven percent of participants supported standardized gatekeeping policies and procedures for all like programs.