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  • 1. A step by step guide for applying for counselor licensure in another state

2. Some Initial Scaffolding Each state has a Licensing Board responsible for overseeing professions that require licensure. Counseling licensure credentials are called slightly different things in each state. Some examples are: Licensed Mental Health Counselor Licensed Professional Counselor Clinical Professional Counselor Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 3. Routes to Licensure By Examination (aka "Original Licensure") This means that you are applying for your original (first) license. You will need to submit to the state board: a licensure application a record of your clinical and supervision hours proof of degree/ transcript your licensure exam results 4. Routes to Licensure By Endorsement (sometimes called Reciprocity) If you are already fully licensed in another state, this is the process that allows you to transfer your license to a new state. States will not automatically accept your current licensethere is an application process and sometimes, states require a certain number of years of licensed experience or a particular type of degree accreditation. You will need to submit to the state board: an application proof of degree/ transcript a letter or form from the state of your original license verifying your credentials there 5. Research Checklist The following questions are helpful when researching what you need to know about licensure in a given state: Is licensure necessary for the kind of work I hope to do? Is there a pre-licensure credential I must apply for in order to begin working clinical hours towards full licensure? What kind of accreditation is required for my school or degree program? What are the required content areas that my coursework must meet? Do I need a certain number of credit hours per content area? How many hours of internship and/or practicum does the state require me to have completed as part of my degree? What kind of national licensure exam(s) am I required to take? Is there also a required local jurisprudence exam? When do I need to take the exam(s)? How many post-graduate clinical experience hours do I need? Of these, how many need to be direct client hours? How many hours of supervision are required? What qualifications does my supervisor need to have? Does the state board need to pre-approve my supervisor? How much time do I have to complete the requirements for full licensure? Where do I send my completed application? What do I need to do to maintain and renew my license once I have it? 6. Where to Begin Find your states licensure website for the credential you desire to apply for: requirements/state-professional-counselor-licensure- boards Each state has established a series of requirements for licensure. To locate these requirements, it may be helpful to visit a couple of different areas of that states counselor licensure website: Licensure Application Licensure Requirements, FAQs State Laws, Codes, Statutes, and/or Rules 7. Necessity of Licensure Is licensure necessary for the kind of work I hope to do? Some states do not require you to hold a license in order to practice in certain settings, such as a social services or community mental health agency, residential care, etc. These are called exceptions or exemptions to licensure. You can often find these by searching within a states licensure laws. Some states, like Colorado, offer an alternate registration to licensure. As the law currently states, you can be a Registered Psychotherapist in Colorado for an unlimited amount of time (provided that you continue to renew your credential on time). This credential does not require you to accumulate a certain amount of clinical hours or take a national exam (you do have to take a Colorado Jurisprudence Exam). A limitation of this credential would be that insurance companies may not panel you since you do not hold a license. 8. Pre-Licensure Credential Does the state require me to apply for a pre-licensure credential to begin working clinical hours towards full licensure? Many states (but not all) require you to hold some type of pre-licensure credential in order to practice mental health counseling or therapy. Examples: Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern. In this case, youd typically complete an application and submit an official transcript to the licensing board. 9. Accreditation What kind of accreditation is required for my school or degree program for licensure? (But first, what is accreditation?) According to CHEA (the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which is an organization that oversees the work of accreditors), accreditation is a process of external quality review used by higher education to scrutinize colleges, universities and educational programs for quality assurance and quality improvement. In the United States, accreditation is carried out by private, nonprofit organizations designed for this specific purpose. Institutions and educational programs seek accredited status as a means of demonstrating their academic quality to students and the public and to become eligible for federal funds. Definition retrieved from 10. Types of Accreditation There are three types of accreditation: national, regional, and programmatic: National accreditation is typically granted to faith-related organizations (such as the Association of Theological Schools, or ATS) or career- related organizations (such as the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools). With regional accreditation, the country is divided into six regions, and each state is assigned to a particular regional accrediting agency--in our case it is the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). While national and regional accrediting bodies certify the entire academic institution, programmatic accrediting agencies (such as the Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, or CACREP) accredit a particular degree program for specialty areas such as counselor training. 11. The Seattle School's Accreditation The Seattle School is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, and Master of Arts in Theology & Culture. The Seattle School was a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) with status as a Category III Institution from 2003 through October 2014 (when the TRACS Board of Commissioners voted to accept The Seattle School's request to withdraw from accreditation). You can learn more about The Seattle Schools credentials here: 12. What if my state requires a different type of accreditation? The licensure law may provide for a degree equivalency review process: Some states provide an option for you to become licensed if you can demonstrate that the content of your degree program is equivalent to that of a regionally accredited or CACREP accredited degree. Typically, you would be required to submit a Degree Equivalency Review application either directly to the state licensure board or to an outsourced organization (such as CCE, the Center for Credentialing & Education, which is used by Colorado, Iowa, and South Carolina) that is contracted by a state to perform the equivalency review. 13. What if a state board denies my application because of accreditation? You may be able to appeal a Licensing Board's decision: Sometimes, even though a states law might require a certain type of accreditation, it is possible to appeal a boards initial denial of your application for licensure (because the states law might offer a provision for an appeal process). In this case, you may need to provide additional documentation such as course catalogs, our current accreditation standards, etc. The Alumni Licensure Coordinator is available to assist you with this process, as well as to write a letter in support of/ advocacy for your application. 14. Required Courses/ Content Areas What are the required content areas that my Seattle School course work must meet? Do I need a certain number of credit hours per content area? As part of submitting your pre-licensure or licensure application or as part of a degree equivalency review process, most states outline a series of required content areas (anywhere from 6-12 of them) which your MACP degree coursework must cover. The required courses for the MACP curriculum cover many of these content areas, but not all of them. Courses that are considered elective offerings at The Seattle School that are typically required content areas for many states include Group Therapy, Career Counseling, and in some cases, Substance Abuse. 15. Required Courses/ Content Areas States vary in terms of the number of credit hours they require for each content areasome states require 2 credit hours per content area, and others may require 3 or more credit hours. In cases where 3+ credit hours are required, you can often combine multiple courses to fulfill that content area (although a handful of states laws stipulate that only one course can fulfill each content area). As you match courses with content areas, most states do not allow you to use any course more than once (but some do). You can find content areas matched up with existing Seattle School courses on p. 35 of the Academic Catalog: 16. Example: Illinois Course Requirements IL Requirements (3 credit hours for each) Seattle School course match-ups (electives in blue) A) Human Growth and Development Human Growth (2 cr) + Children & Adolescents (2 cr) B) Counseling Theory History & Therapeutic Perspectives (3 cr) C) Counseling Techniques Therapy I (2 cr) + Therapy II (2 cr) D) Group Dynamics, Processing and Counseling Group Therapy (3 credit version) E) Appraisal of Individuals Psychopathology I (3 cr) F) Research and Evaluation Research (3 credit version) G) Professional, Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Relating to Professional Counseling, Including IL Law Professional Ethics (3 cr) H) Social and Cultural Foundations Multicultural Perspectives (2cr) + Interpersonal Found. (2 cr) I) Lifestyle and Career Development Vocational & Occupational Direction (3 credit version) J) Practicum/Internship All Practicums & Case Conferences K) Psychopathology and Maladaptive Behavior Psychopathology II (3 cr) L) Substance Abuse Substance Abuse (3 credit version) M) Family Dynamics Marriage & Family (2 cr) + Family Systems (2 cr) 17. If youve already graduated and did not take course work in a required area... Many states have a provision in their law which allows you to take additional requirements post-graduation (even including pursuing additional internship hours). Know your state's requirements re: the type of accreditation that the institution you take the additional courses from must have. Many states also have limits re: the maximum number of credits you are allowed to take to fulfill their requirements after you have already received your Master's Degree. You can find this information in your states counselor licensing laws. 18. Internship Requirements Helpful questions to research: How many hours of internship are required? (Many other states require more hours than WA State or The Seattle School.) Is there a particular kind of site or type of experience that is required for the credential I am pursuing? Are there certain requirements for the kind of supervisor I have or the number of hours of supervision I receive in my internship? 19. Example: Illinois Internship Requirement An internship should provide direct client experiences in assessment, individual counseling and group counseling, as well as opportunities to become familiar with a variety of professional activities other than direct service (e.g., referral sources, case histories and progress notes, data management, etc.). The internship should provide an opportunity for a student to perform a variety of activities that a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor would be expected to perform. A minimum of 600 clock hours with a minimum of 1 hour per week of supervision is required during the internship. Examples of acceptable courses include, but are not limited to, Internship Community Counseling, Internship Mental Health Counseling, Internship Art Therapy, Internship Pastoral Counseling, and Internship Rehabilitation Counseling. Information retrieved from: 20. Post-Graduate Clinical Experience Clinical hours requirement questions to research How many total hours do I need? How many of them need to be face-to-face (direct) client hours? How many can be other (non-direct) hours? Is there a certain kind of experience I need (particular mental health issues and/or in certain clinical settings)? Supervision requirement questions to research How much supervision do I need (hours and/or frequency)? What kind of qualifications does my supervisor need to have? Does the state board need to approve my supervisor or supervision plan in advance? 21. Example: Colorado Requirements Experience Requirements (A) The post-master's practice in psychotherapy under supervision cannot be completed in fewer than (24) twenty-four months and may involve supervision by more than one (1) supervisor as defined in these rules. (B) The two (2) years of post-master's practice in psychotherapy under supervision required by C.R.S. 12-43-603(1)(d) must include at least 2,000 hours of psychotherapy obtained in such a manner that they are reasonably uniformly distributed over a minimum of twenty four (24) months. (C) The teaching of the practice of psychotherapy may count up to 600 hours of post-master's practice in psychotherapy under supervision and up to thirty (30) hours of supervision, provided this teaching experience was supervised by a supervisor as defined in these rules. Information retrieved from: Reg/CBON/DORA/1251632086729 22. Example: Colorado Requirements Supervision requirements - qualified supervisor (A) The Board may accept any of the following as a supervisor provided the proposed supervisors experience is substantially equivalent to those within the scope of a licensed professional counselor: (1) A licensed professional counselor who, at the time of the supervision, was licensed by the Board in the jurisdiction in which the applicant's services were performed. (2) A licensed clinical social worker who, at the time of the supervision, was licensed by the Board in the jurisdiction in which the applicant's services were performed. (3) A marriage and family therapist who, at the time of the supervision, was licensed by the Board in the jurisdiction in which the applicant's services were performed. (4) A psychologist who, at the time of the supervision, was licensed by the Board in the jurisdiction in which the applicant's services were performed. (B) The approved supervisor must keep records that document they have effectively trained, evaluated and credited the applicant for licensure. The records must reflect the exact number of hours of Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners applicable post- master's or post-doctoral practice of psychotherapy and the exact number of hours of supervision completed in compliance with this Rule. Information retrieved from: 23. Example: Colorado Requirements Supervision requirements - hours and type (A) For each 1,000 hours of supervised practice in psychotherapy, applicants must receive a minimum of 50 hours of supervision. A minimum of 35 of the 50 hours must be face-to-face supervision. The remaining hours up to the 50 hours may be by group supervision. No other modes of supervision will be accepted. (B) The post-master's or post-doctoral supervision hours must be reasonably distributed over each 1,000 hours of supervised practice in psychotherapy in a manner consistent with the accrual of the hours of supervised post-master's or post-doctoral practice. (C) With respect to supervision of the teaching of psychotherapy, the supervision hours must be reasonably distributed over the teaching experience in a manner consistent with the accrual of the hours of teaching experience. Information retrieved from: Reg/CBON/DORA/1251632086729 24. National Licensure Exams Which national exam(s) does the state board require me to take? The National Counselor Exam (NCE) is a series of multiple choice questions covering counseling theory, history, professional ethics, group therapy, career counseling, etc. The National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE) is a more narrative-oriented exam based on assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning. Many states require one exam over the other, some states allow you to take either, and some states (such as TN) require both. When does the state require me to take my exam? Most states simply require that you take your licensure exam(s) at some point while youre working towards the clinical hours requirement. Some states (TX, for example) require you to take the exam(s) before you begin practicing therapy. 25. State Jurisprudence Exams Does my state require me to take a Jurisprudence Exam? A jurisprudence exam is often an open-book test that can be taken from your personal computer. It explores issues surrounding your states counselor laws and ethical codes. Sample content outline from Colorados Jurisprudence Exam: I. General Mental Health Statutes (21%) II. Confidentiality and Privilege (15%) III. Prohibited Activities/Violations (25%) IV. Board Rules (19%) V. Emergency Procedures (9%) VI. Disciplinary Provisions/Proceedings (11%) 26. Maintaining Your License Renewal questions to research How frequently do I need to renew my license? How much does it cost? Continuing Education question to research How many continuing education units (CEUs) do I need in order to keep my license? Do I need CEUs in certain subjects? How frequently do I need to get them? What records/ documentation do I need to keep for the state re: my CEUs? 27. Where to Seek Support I need Where to go Copies of my transcript Transcript Request form: ileges-resources/ A copy of course syllabi Alumni Licensure Coordinator Additional information about some of my classes because the licensure board requested it Alumni Licensure Coordinator A letter of advocacy/ support because my initial licensure application was denied Alumni Licensure Coordinator Answers re: requirements, or legal/ compliance questions Credentialing Specialist who works for the states licensing board Advice or encouragement from others who have been through this process Alumni Directory directory 28. Resources Academic Catalog Accreditation Information Alumni Directory State Licensure Boards requirements/state-professional-counselor-licensure-boards Transcript Requests