The use of objective methods in gatekeeping processes has become increasingly more important due to legal and ethical implications and consequences. For example, the medical field has utilized criminal background checks (CBCs) as a gatekeeping assessment of a student’s ability to best serve future patients. This article focuses on the current use of CBCs by master’s-level counselor education programs (N = 83) accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). A significant implication from this study is the need for counselor education to consider best practices and guidelines for the use of CBCs.
A total of 370 counselor educators in CACREP-accredited programs were surveyed to determine their knowledge of master’s students’ problems of professional competence (PPC) and their perception of roadblocks that affect gatekeeping practices. Findings suggest that educators are aware of students’ PPC and that problematic students are impacting the overall learning environment, other students and counselor educators’ personal stress. Participants reported roadblocks related to struggling emotionally to balance being empathetic with their gatekeeping duties and fears they would appear culturally insensitive.