The Professional Counselor | Volume 10, Issue 4 435 accredited programs to qualify for independent practice status was in response to a 2010 report issued by the Institute of Medicine, now known as the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division. The report recommended that professional counselors have “a master’s or higher-level degree in counseling from a program in mental health counseling or clinical mental health counseling that is accredited by CACREP” (p. 10). The additional legitimization of CACREP by the VA and TRICARE increased interest among counselor education programs to seek and maintain CACREP accreditation, especially for the master’s specialty of clinical mental health counseling (T. A. Field, 2017). In addition, graduation from a CACREP-accredited program has become a requirement for licensure in certain states (e.g., Ohio) within the past few years, following advocacy efforts by counselor leaders (Lawson et al., 2017). Lawson et al. (2017) and Mascari and Webber (2013) have proposed that establishing CACREP as the educational standard for licensure would strengthen the professional identity and place counseling on par with other master’s-level mental health professions that require graduation from an accredited program for licensure. Graduation from a CACREP-accredited program will also become a requirement for certification by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) as of 2024 (NBCC, 2018). These changes will likely bolster the valuing of CACREP accreditation by prospective students and also result in ever-increasing numbers of counseling programs that seek and maintain CACREP accreditation. The growth in doctoral student enrollment (44%; CACREP, 2019b) may in part reflect the need for individuals with doctoral degrees to serve as counselor educators for these growing master’s programs. It is also likely due to a major change in faculty qualifications. To advance the professionalization of counseling (Lawson, 2016), the 2009 CACREP standards (2008) required all core faculty hired after 2013 to possess doctoral degrees in counselor education and supervision (CES), preferably from CACREPaccredited programs. From 2013 onward, newly appointed core faculty with doctorates in counseling psychology or other non-counseling disciplines could no longer qualify for faculty positions in CACREPaccredited doctoral CES programs. Lawson (2016) articulated that prior to this standard, an inequity existed whereby psychologists could be recruited for counselor education faculty positions, though counselor educators could not be hired for full-time psychology faculty positions. As a result, the psychology doctorate had a distinct advantage over the CES doctorate in the hiring of new faculty in counseling and psychology faculty positions (Lawson, 2016). In light of these requirements for new faculty members in counselor education programs to possess doctorates in CES to qualify as core faculty, the hiring of new faculty members may be complicated by the available pool of qualified graduates. While counselor education programs routinely hire faculty from outside of their region, it seems possible that programs in regions with fewer counselor education doctoral programs may have greater difficulty in hiring counselor educators compared with programs in regions with numerous doctoral programs in CES. The extent of regional differences in the number of CES doctoral programs has not previously been quantitatively explored in the extant literature. Regional Representation of Counselor Education Programs Despite the national representation of CACREP-accredited programs and enrollment growth for both master’s and doctoral programs, the number of CACREP-accredited master’s and doctoral programs is not equally distributed and varies substantially by state and by region. Table 1 depicts that the national ratio of CACREP-accredited master’s-to-doctoral counselor education programs is roughly 9:1 (CACREP, n.d.). As seen in Table 1, these ratios vary by region as defined by national counselor education associations and organizations (i.e., North Atlantic, North Central, Rocky Mountain, Southern, Western regions). The North Central, Rocky Mountain, and Southern regions currently have a ratio of master’s-to-doctoral programs that ranges from 3:1 to 5:1. In comparison,