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Southwestern College is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to offer three Master of Arts degrees (Counseling; Art Therapy/Counseling; Art Therapy for Clinical Professionals). HLC is our regional accreditor, and our accreditation through them allows our students to access Department of Education Financial Aid student loans through the FAFSA process.
We were awarded our ten-year reaccreditation in 2010-11. Our 2010 Self Study is available. Ten years is the maximum time for HLC reaccreditation. We are now preparing for our next major ten-year reaccreditation which is coming up in 2020-21. We attend the annual HLC conference in Chicago and stay current with all federal requirements for our ongoing success.
Additionally, we were approved by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) in 2013 for the longest time period they allow, which is seven years. In 2019 we are seeking formal accreditation for our two Art Therapy graduate degrees through AATA’s new accreditation process. The updated 2017 educational standards for accredited art therapy programs are now established and can be reviewed here. AATA is transitioning to an accreditation process under the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). This process is managed by the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE). Our Art Therapy faculty attend the annual AATA conference and Southwestern College anticipates meeting all of the national standards set forth by ACATE.
In 2017, Southwestern College was approved by New Mexico to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of post-secondary distance education. This allows us to offer our distance education courses to students living anywhere in the country.
Finally, we are approved by the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board to offer Continuing Education for licensed professionals. We offer this through The New Earth Institute in a variety of formats, including our ongoing public lectures series, annual Transformation & Healing Conference and our seven Certificates: Addiction, Abuse & Recovery; Applied Interpersonal Neurobiology; Children’s Mental Health; Ecotherapy; Human Sexuality; Infant Mental Health; and Trauma, Grief and Renewal.