[email protected]: Dr. Darlene DanekerAbstract This paper will discuss the licensure and certification requirements for the state of Florida for mental health counselors. It will discuss whether a mental health counselor needs to; hold a license, credential, certification, or some other designation to practice independently as a professional counselor, it will define the laws that regulate and impact the credentialing, certification, and/or licensing of counseling professionals working within mental health counseling, and it will discuss three key content areas that are included in your state laws as they relate to professionals in mental health counseling.
Licensure and Certification Requirements in the State of Florida for Mental Health Counselors This paper will discuss the licensure and certification requirements for the state of Florida for mental health counselors. It will discuss whether a mental health counselor needs to; hold a license, credential, certification, or some other designation to practice independently as a professional counselor, it will define the laws that regulate and impact the credentialing, certification, and/or licensing of counseling professionals working within mental health counseling and it will discuss key content areas of; educational requirements, fieldwork and supervision requirements, licensure requirements, specific required examination requirements, and continuing education that are included in Florida state laws as they relate to professionals in mental health counseling. In order to practice mental health counseling in the state of Florida it is a requirement to hold a license for mental health counseling
In order to receive such license one must have completed the application for mental health counselor, taken, and passed the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. However, before endeavoring on the path of licensure one must also have taken required courses within their graduate program which include (1) Counseling Theories and Practice, (2) Human Growth and Development, (3) Diagnosis and Treatment of Psychopathology, (4) Human Sexuality, (5) Group Theories and Practice, (6) Individual Evaluation and Assessment, (7) Career and Lifestyle Assessment, (8) Research and Program Evaluation, (9) Social and Cultural Foundations, (10) Counseling in Community Settings, (11) Substance Abuse, and (12) Legal, Ethical, and Professional Standards Issues. In addition, the graduate program for which one hales from must be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); carrying a minimum of sixty semester hours in the areas listed above or a minimum of eighty quarter hours of clinical and didactic instruction, including a course in human sexuality and substance abuse CITATION Flo131 \l 1033 (Department, 2013).
Fieldwork and supervision are also a requirement of the laws in order to be licensed in Florida; one must have the “equivalent of at least 1,000 hours of university-sponsored supervised clinical practicum, internship, or field experience as required in the standards for CACREP accredited mental health counseling programs” CITATION Flo131 \l 1033 (Department, 2013). The state of Florida strictly follows the CACREP accreditation practices for licensure acceptance. In addition, the requirement for two years of post-master’s supervised experienced under the supervision of a licensed mental health counselor or equivalent who is deemed qualified by the Florida Board of Professional Regulations and the “supervision experience must have consisted of at least 1,500 hours providing psychotherapy face-to-face with clients for the profession for which licensure is sought” CITATION Flo131 \l 1033 (Department, 2013).
Finally, the applicant must pass the national clinical mental health counseling examination (NCMHCE) developed by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), and complete an eight-hour laws and rules course from an approved provider, complete a two-hour prevention of medical errors course from an approved provider, complete a three-hour course on human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome within six months of licensure, and complete a two hour domestic violence course from a board approved provider within six months of licensure. The state of Florida requires its licensed Mental Health Counselors to continue their education on a bi-yearly basis. In order to follow this guideline one must; Licensees must complete 30 hours of approved continuing education (CE) within the two year licensure period (biennium) to include the following: a two hour course relating to prevention of medical errors, a three hour course in ethics and boundary issues, a two hours of CE on domestic violence must be completed every third biennial licensure renewal period.
These two hours shall be part of the 30 hours otherwise required for each biennial licensure renewal, and may be taken at any time during the six years preceding the renewal for the biennial in which the credit is due CITATION Flo132 \l 1033 (Statue, 2013). In order to remain current in all aspects of licensure requirements one must know their renewal date, know their biennial date and the clear and precise steps to timely complete the process in which one is expected. Florida offers a concierge system to track continuing education mandated courses. Utilizing this and an organizational calendar will allow one to keep up with their requirements. Staying apprised of legislation through the state of Florida medical quality assurance website will allow one to be updated as well as sign up for emails that will trigger one to review new laws and legislation regarding their licensure.
BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Department, F. H. (2013, August 24). To be licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in Florida. Tallahassee, Florida, United States. Florida, C. (2013, July 20). Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy & Mental Health Counseling Statutes and Rules. Retrieved from Florida Department of Health: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/491/soc_statutes.html Statue, F. (2013, August 24). Continuing Education. Tallahassee, Florida, United States http://doh.state.fl.us/mqa/continuingeducation/ce_licenseeinfo.html.