New Hampshire's professional counselors are licensed as Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors. To become a counselor, you'll need to complete a master's, pass a clinical skills exam, and then work for a couple years under supervision. If you do your supervised practice within the state, you'll have candidate status while you finish fulfilling your requirements.
The information below serves as a guide to counselor licensure in NH. If you have questions along the way or would like to make sure you are on the right path, contact the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice by calling 603-271-6762.
Capella University offers four online CACREP - Accredited Graduate Programs in Counseling: MS in Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage & Family Counseling/Therapy, MS in School Counseling, and PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. The MS in Marriage & Family Counseling/Therapy program is also COAMFTE-accredited. In addition, Capella has program options in Addiction Studies, Studies in Human Behavior, General Psychology, Clinical Counseling, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Educational Psychology, Sport Psychology, and more. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs today.
CACREP Accredited Online Master's in Counseling Program: Chicago, IL based Northwestern University offers another option for a CACREP accredited online M.A. in Counseling. Counseling@Northwestern works with its students to ensure that they are able to meet licensure requirements in their state. Click here to contact Northwestern University for information about the program. (*This program is NOT available to students in WI, LA, AL, KY, NC, DE, MD)
You will need to enroll in a graduate program that includes at least 60 semester hours See here for more information: (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XXX/330-A/330-A-19.htm). It must either hold accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or be the academic equivalent. Any program that’s not CACREP-accredited at the program level must be regionally accredited at the school level. Learn more about selecting a Master's in Counseling program here.
New Hampshire boasts CACREP-accredited programs at Antioch and Plymouth State University. You can choose any of several specialties, including substance abuse counseling.
If you have a master's in a related field, but it doesn't meet licensing standards, you can enroll in a post-master's advanced certificate program.
You will work under supervision for two years. During this time, you will accumulate at least 3,000 hours of experience.
You will work under a clinical supervisor. This may be a different person than your work supervisor. Your clinical supervisor will guide your professional development as well as evaluate you for licensure purposes. If s/he is not an employee at your workplace, she'll be expected to have a written agreement with the workplace that allows for the review of files.
The terms of your supervision will be spelled out in your Candidate for Licensure Agreement. You can see a sample form on the site of the Board of Mental Health Practice. You will be asked to answer some professional fitness questions as well as identify your place of employment and your supervisor.
Your supervisor will also need to answer some questions. You and your supervisor together will need to formulate goals; these will be included in the materials you submit to the board.
The exception to the above is if you are doing your supervision in another state. In this case, you do not need to file a Candidate for Licensure Agreement.
You will need to pass a licensing exam. New Hampshire uses the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) which is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. You'll need to have documentation that you have completed a master's degree that meets the curricular standards -- make sure to request an official transcript in advance.
You can download an application directly from the NBCC site (http://www.nbcc.org/Assets/StateForms/Reg/NH.pdf). You will sign it in ink and send the original copy to the NBCC with a $195 fee and original transcripts in unopened envelopes. The NBCC will process your fee and then your application. This process will take about a month. When you receive confirmation of eligibility, you will schedule at your choice of computerized testing centers, either in Vermont or in another state. The Vermont site is located in Concord.
Your $195 fee gives you a six month window in which to schedule your exam. You do so by visiting www.pearsonvue.com or calling 866-904-4432. Exams are scheduled during a two week block each month. You’ll want to call to schedule well in advance of the day you plan to test, as seats do fill.
You will need to gather various supporting documents for the application process. Click Here to find the forms you will need.
You will identify three references, at least one of whom is a supervisor. You'll give them official reference forms, which they'll sign and return in sealed envelopes.
You will have your clinical supervisor(s) verify your supervised experience and include brief explanations of the type of work you did and the quality. These will also be returned return to you in sealed envelopes.
You'll get official transcript(s) from your school.
You will make sure that you have taken necessary steps to ensure that the board receives your NCMHCE scores. If you took the exam more than two years prior or in a different state, you'll need to make sure that verification is sent. If you took it recently, using the New Hampshire registration, the board should receive it.
You will include a resume and a recent photograph.
You'll pay a $150 fee, made out to the State of New Hampshire. (A separate licensing fee will be required later.)
Materials should be sent to NH Board of Mental Health Practice, 121 South Fruit Street, Concord, NH 03301.
If you have been licensed in another state, you'll need to get license verifications. The board must receive them in signed, sealed envelopes.
Although New Hampshire does not have specific reciprocity with other states, they will review your credentials and offer a license if the requirements were substantially similar.
Professionals in closely related fields may be eligible for licensure. The American Art Therapy Association reports that art therapy programs are working to align their standard with those of CACREP, and that New Hampshire allows qualified art therapists to be licensed.
Dance and movement therapy is recognized by the NBCC as a branch of counseling. Antioch University notes that the dance movement therapy program meets standards for national certification as a counselor, but that students who are planning on pursuing licensure or certification in mental health counseling should check with their boards to see if additional courses will be required (http://www.antiochne.edu/ap/dmt/candl.cfm).
You will renew your license every two years (http://www.nh.gov/mhpb/faq/15.html). During that time, you must earn 40 CEUs, at least six of them in ethics.
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 New Hampshire.
The board notes that the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice website is for information, not for carrying out official business, and that information should be verified.
You may contact the board by calling 603-271-6762 on weekdays between 8:00 and 4:00.
You may choose to attend board meetings -- they're open to the public, and are usually held at 9:00 the third Friday of the month. Visit the contact page (http://www.nh.gov/mhpb/contactus.html) for additional information.
You may also choose to become a member of the New Hampshire Mental Health Counseling Association.