The Department of Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education is one of five departments in the Reich College of Education, offering programs that prepare students for human services positions in K-12 schools, colleges/universities, and mental health agencies.


The programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.) and Professional School Counseling (M.A.), are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Graduates are eligible to take the National Counselor Examination offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC) with successful completion qualifying the individual to become a National Certified Counselor.


The Professional School Counseling program also is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and approved by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The Marriage and Family Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).


The Student Affairs Administration program complies with the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Guidelines for Master's Level Higher Education and Student Affairs Professional Preparation Programs (2019) and centers the ACPA/NASPA (2015, 2016) Competencies for Student Affairs Educators.

Continuing Education

Each year the department will sponsor various professional development workshops for graduate students as well as professional counselors and therapists. Continuing education credit will be made available for some of these workshops.

Appalachian State University's Department of Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 3001. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.  Appalachian State University's Department of Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

Mission and Vision Statements

Mission Statement

The Department of Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education (CTH) is a diverse and collaborative community whose mission is to develop skilled professionals using a theory-to-practice and person-centered model to assume roles in counseling, family therapy, student affairs, and higher education. We have innovative programs that adhere to best practice standards with a focus on social justice and inclusion, reflexive practice, and critical thinking. CFTHE faculty and students engage in active scholarship, advocacy, and holistic approaches to learning.

Vision Statement

Within the next five years, the CTH Department will focus on:

  • Collaboration: Cultivate authentic interdisciplinary collaboration and partnerships that inform and support a local and global community.
  • Department Culture: Teach and embody a person-centered approach that is an example for graduate-level inquiry and mentorship.
  • Diversity: Implement measurable practices that center on diversity, social justice, and inclusion within policies, praxis, and pedagogy.
  • Technology: Integrate technology within our classes to meet graduate students' needs while preparing them to use it in their work.

Adopted 12/7/2022

Inclusive practices in the Department of Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education

The Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education Department values honoring persons to exist in spaces and conversations in an authentic way across the intersections of their identities, and narratives that center the experiences of those who have been historically and continually marginalized. We believe diverse perspectives work together to create an enhanced learning environment. As such we strive to infuse diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into the fabric of our department through ongoing curricular revision, faculty evaluation, and faculty and staff development. We are committed to fostering space for discussion of power and privilege among faculty, staff, and students to generate purposeful action toward dismantling systemic oppression.

We acknowledge that our students, faculty, and staff navigate oppressive systems, discriminatory actions, and unfair treatment, within the university, on and off campus, through field placements, and lived experience in the community. We are committed to creating a learning environment among students that fosters critical consciousness, values and honors socially and culturally diverse identities, and prepares students to purposefully take action toward dismantling oppression in our fields.

Dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is a lifelong process in which cultural humility is necessary for faculty, staff, and students. Through our dedication to conversation, continued growth as faculty and staff, and learning environments for students we aim to facilitate a departmental culture that creates accountability structures that align with what we value and see as the vision of our department, our programs, and in our professions where all students, faculty, and staff can thrive.

Adopted 12/7/2022