A State by State Counselor Guide

Licensed Professional Counselor Requirements in CT

What to know for the licensure application process

Connecticut’s mental health counselors are licensed as Licensed Professional Counselors by the Department of Public Health. Whether you’re planning on getting your education in Connecticut or you’re moving there from elsewhere, the application process is very similar. You’ll need to show that you’ve met the requirements for education, examination, and practice under supervision.

The information below will provide a road map for you. However, if you have any questions along the way, make sure to contact the Connecticut Department of Public Health to assure you are on the right path: Phone: 860-509-7603 or email oplc.dph@ct.gov

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Education Requirements

As a prospective counselor, you must complete a master’s or doctoral program. The board states that it’s acceptable for you to have your master’s in a related field if you meet coursework requirements. Related fields include marriage and family therapy, psychology, and social work. Other mental health programs may be accepted as well.

You must have a total of 60 units in counseling that include the following content areas:

  • Social/ cultural foundations
  • Human growth and development
  • Helping relationships or counseling theories/ techniques
  • Group dynamics
  • Career and lifestyle
  • Tests and measurements or appraisals
  • Research and evaluation
  • Processing and counseling
  • Professional orientation

The above coursework must be completed at regionally accredited school(s). The following accrediting agencies are accepted:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE)
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA-HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges or Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities)

The Connecticut Counseling Association reports that three Connecticut institutions have counseling programs that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Antioch University offers a new Online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program that is in the CACREP accreditation process and mirrors the CACREP-accredited program delivered on campus. Specializations in: Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling (SAAC) and Counseling Military Service Personnel and their Families (MSPF). Click here to contact Antioch University and request information about their programs. Antioch is a private, not-for-profit university. (*This program is NOT available to students in CA, IL, IA, KS, MO, NH, ND)

Learn more about selecting a Master's in Counseling program here.

Testing

You will need to pass a licensing exam. You may choose to take the National Counselor Examination or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. Both are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. In 2012, the exams are given in Hartford in January, April, July, and October. The deadline for receipt of materials is approximately six weeks earlier. (The NBCC notes that deadlines are strictly enforced.)

You can download registration forms from the NBCC site. You will send the form, signed, along with a $145 fee (http://www.nbcc.org/Assets/StateForms/Reg/CT.pdf ). You must also include a sealed copy of your graduate transcript; it must show that you have a master’s degree in counseling or a related field and include the conferral date.

Materials should be sent to the following address: NBCC Assessment Department, PO Box 7407, Greensboro, NC 27417-0407.

You will have test scores sent directly to the Connecticut board by the NBCC.

Approximately two weeks before the test date, you’ll receive an admission ticket. If you have questions about the process, you can call the NBCC at 336-547-0607 or email nbcc@nbcc.org.

Supervised Practice

Before you can be licensed as a professional counselor in Connecticut, you will need to complete 3,000 hours of supervised practice. Some states require counselors to work under an associate license while accumulating hours toward professional licensure. In Connecticut, this is not the case.

You must spend at least a year meeting your experience requirements. You must have at least 100 hours of direct supervision.

Your supervisor may be a professional counselor, social worker, marriage and family therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or advanced practice nurse. If she is a psychiatrist, she must be certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. If your supervisor is an advanced practice nurse, she must be certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a specialist in adult psychiatric and mental health. All supervisors are expected to have held licensing, with one exception: If you were supervised by a professional counselor before October 1, 1998, your supervisor should have met licensing requirements, but not necessarily held licensure.

You can find a list of potential intern position on the CCA site (https://ccacounseling.com/).

Other Professions

Connecticut’s education requirements are broadly defined and do allow professionals in some related helping professions to be licensed as professional counselors. The American Art Therapy Association reports that Connecticut art therapists may become licensed as professional counselors. AATA further reports that many art therapy programs are working to align their standards with the standards that are in place for professional counselors.

The Application Process

You will fill out an application form and have it notarized. You will send it to the board with a $315 fee, made out to “Treasurer, State of Connecticut.

You will have all supporting documents sent straight to the board by the source.

Your educational institutions must send official transcripts and fill out verification forms. The verification form will attest to your having met credit hour requirements and completed coursework in the required areas. (You can view the form to see a detailed description of the material to be covered in each content area.)

Your supervisor will verify that you have met requirements for supervised practice. You will fill out the top portion before giving it to your supervisor.

The NBCC, meanwhile, will send your score report.

Materials may be sent to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Professional Counselor Licensure, 410 Capitol Ave., MS #12 APP, P.O. Box 340308, Hartford, CT 06134.

Out of State Applicants

If you’ve ever held a license in another municipality, you’ll need to send a verification form. Click here to download the form. You should check with the state where you hold licensure to find out what fees may be assessed for verification.

There are in-state post-master’s programs designed to help students who completed graduate programs in the past that didn’t meet the standards that are currently in place in Connecticut. One option is to do a sixth year professional diploma (http://www.southernct.edu/counseling_schoolpsychology/graduateprograms/communitycounseling).

Continuing Education

Licensed counselors are mandated to complete continuing education during each renewal period. There are a few exceptions. You’re not required to do continuing education during your first license period. You may get a waiver if you’re not actively practicing. You can also apply for a waiver or extension if the case of illness or disability.

Generally, you’ll be expected to do 15 hours of continuing education each year. You must keep records of continuing education for three years.

Additional Information

Click Here for Step by Step information on becoming a counselor in CT based on current educational attainment.

You may contact the board by calling 860-509-7603 or emailing oplc.dph@ct.gov.

Additionally, you may want to become a member of the Connecticut Counseling Association. Professional membership can help you stay current in meeting requirements.

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