The Maine Board of Counseling Professionals has unique requirements for professional counselors. As in other states, there are multiple levels and types of counseling licensure: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC).
What’s unique is that these represent two separate, but overlapping disciplines. The curricular and supervision requirements are higher for LCPCs than for LPCs. You aren’t, however, required to practice as licensed professional counselor before becoming a licensed clinical professional. Instead, you’ll practice under conditional license before attaining full licensure at either level.
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If you are pursuing licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor, you will need a graduate program of at least 48 hours that fulfills curricular requirements. A counseling program is acceptable if it is accredited by CACREP or CORE.
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A doctoral level clinical or counseling psychology program is also acceptable if it is accredited by American Psychological Association or Canadian Psychological Association. Read more about selecting a Master's in Counseling program here. Other programs in counseling and related fields are acceptable if they include coursework in the following ten content areas:
You’re expected to have a three semester hour course in each of the first eight content areas. You may get partial credit for a class that includes some of the required content for a particular subject area. Your internship should be at least 600 hours.
If you completed a master’s that was between 36 and 48 semester hours and/or did not include all the required components, you can take supplement courses to help you meet board standards. (The board suggests that you discuss requirements with an advisor before enrolling.)
If you don’t meet the requirements for the practicum and internship, you may instead document 700 hours of supervised work experience (lawfully obtained).
In order to be licensed as an LCPC, you’ll need at least 60 semester hours of graduate coursework. If you’re program wasn’t a CACREP-accredited mental health program or an APA-or CPA-accredited doctoral level psychology program, you’ll need to demonstrate that it included coursework in all of the following.
In addition, you’ll need a minimum of nine semester hours drawn from at least two of the following content areas:
Your internship should be at least 900 hours with at least 360 hours of direct patient contact. You should do all of the duties that a clinical professional counselor would be expected to do in a work setting. If your master’s program was between 36 and 60 semester hours in length and/ or did not meet the content requirements, you can take additional coursework.
If you don’t have an internship that meets the above requirements, you may again document lawful supervised work experience. The board notes that most who can’t document these hours choose to enroll in an educational program to make them up.
You will need to complete 2,000 hours of supervised counseling practice with at least 1,000 hours of direct client contact (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/counselors/pdf/counselors_rules_11-30-09.pdf). During this time, you will need 67 hours of supervision, with approximately one hour of supervision per 30 hours of work experience. More than half (at least 34) of the supervision hours will need to be individual. (Up to 17 may be live audio or video conference.)
Your supervisor will be a board-approved professional counselor, pastoral counselor, marriage and family therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or certified social worker – independent practice.
If you have to change supervisors during your supervision period, you’ll need to make a written request. Your current supervisor will need to fill out an evaluation.
You will need to complete at least 3,000 hours of supervised practice, which include diagnosis and treatment of mental disorder. At least 1,500 of your hours will need to be in direct clinical care. You must have 100 hours of supervision over the course of your supervision period. At least 50 of these must be individual supervision.
If you had an internship of at least 600 hours, but it didn’t meet board requirements, you’ll need to do 4,000 hours of supervised practice with at least 150 hours of supervision. You should be supervised approximately one hour for every 27 hours of work experience.
If your supervisor is a professional counselor, s/he should have LCPC status. Supervision by other board-approved persons (including pastoral counselors and marriage and family therapists) is acceptable. You typically spend two years completing experience requirements. You may renew your conditional license, and take longer, but you can’t take more than six years without demonstrating hardship to the board.
You will need to take the National Counselor Examination to attain licensure at any level. To achieve full licensure as an LCPC, you’ll need to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. The process is much the same for both. In order to get approval, you must submit an application to the Maine Board. The board will send you a registration form, which you’ll submit, signed, to the National Board for Certified Counselors along with a fee of $185. It will take the NBCC about four weeks from the time your fee clears to send you approval.
Once you get your approval, you will either call the Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) or visit the website to register. Tests are available each month, Monday through Friday, for two full weeks. Some sites are open Saturday as well. Maine has one AMP testing site, in Portland. You may schedule at an AMP site in another state if you prefer.
Conditional licensure will require the following:
The disclosure statement is a personal practice statement. It also includes a statement of accountability and contact information for the complaint coordinator. You will find a sample disclosure statement in your application packet.
You will need to have a criminal history check performed.
There are several fees, but you can, if you choose, pay them together. The application fee is $25 and the criminal history check, $21. A conditional professional counseling license costs $200, while a full license costs $250. Fees should be made out to “Maine State Treasurer”.
Click Here to find all the applications and materials you need for licensure, certification and registration in Maine.
When it comes time to upgrade from conditional to full licensure status, you’ll again fill out an application and disclosure form and pay the requisite fees. You will also need an affidavit from your supervisor. Unless you were exempt, you will need to show that you met continuing education requirements during your conditional term. You may choose to either mail application materials to State of Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation - Office of Licensing & Registration, 35 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333 or hand deliver them to 76 Northern Avenue, Gardiner, Maine 04345.
If you want to check on the status of your application, you may do so online at http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing.
If you’re coming from another state, you won’t necessarily have to begin with conditional licensure. You can demonstrate that you’ve met similar requirements, or that you have been actively practicing under a similar license for five years.
If you’re applying at the LCPC level and you haven’t taken the NCE exam, you won’t necessarily be required to do so. You will need a copy of the licensing law of your state or jurisdiction in order to establish equivalency of requirements.
As an out of state applicant, you’ll also need license verification from all previous jurisdictions. If you had training in another country, you can have your credentials reviewed by World Education Services, Inc. or Center for Educational Documentation, Inc.
The board notes that professionals with nontraditional training, for example, art therapists or dance therapists, can be licensed as counselors if they meet the same standards. You may be licensed as either an LPC or LCPC depending on your professional goals and the specific standards you’ve met.
Maine licenses pastoral counselors who have completed Master or Doctor of Divinity programs, master or doctoral degrees in pastoral counseling, or other programs that are equivalent – so long as they meet all board requirements. Maine no longer grants new licenses for Registered Counselors, but does allow those who hold the credential to continue to renew.
You must renew you counseling license biannually. As an LPC or LCPC, you must do 55 contact hours of continuing education.
If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, or hold a bachelor's degree, check out suggested steps to take along the path to becoming a counselor in Maine.
The board asks that you periodically review the statutes for changes (Click Here to review those statutes.).