Behavioral Therapy Licensing in North Carolina
In the state of North Carolina, you have many options for seeking licensure in behavioral therapy and counseling. Some licenses are more difficult to obtain than others and have more rigorous requirements. It’s important, though, that you choose a licensure not just because of how “prestigious:” it is or because it will make you more money, but that you choose a license that is right for the exact job that you wish to do and that you can honestly see yourself making the commitment to carrying out. Otherwise, you’ll just end up wasting valuable time and resources.
Most people choose to seek their licensure to practice therapy through the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. Through this reputable organization, you can become a licensed professional counselor associate, a licensed professional counselor, or a licensed professional counselor supervisor. Different licenses will enable you to do different things in the behavioral therapy field, so it’s wise to have an idea of the exact job that you wish to obtain before you seek licensure. Also be aware that licensure comes after you have completed your desired level of higher education and that you need not apply until you meet all specified educational and other requirements.
To become a licensed professional counselor associate, all applicants must have at least a master’s degree from an accredited college or university. What’s more is that the coursework completed while pursuing the master’s degree must meet with certain requirements, such as set classes that must be taken. If you are missing any coursework or fall below the minimum hours of coursework required, you will have to attend a higher learning institution once more in order to qualify for licensure, no exceptions. You must also pass the National Counselor Examination, the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam, and the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam. You must also have 3000 hours of supervised professional practice.
While those requirements might seem difficult to meet, the requirements to become a licensed professional counselor are even more intense. You will need at least a master’s degree in a related area with approved coursework and must pass all of the examinations above in addition to passing the jurisprudence examination. As with the licensed professional counselor associate distinction, you must complete 3000 hours of supervised professional practice, adhering to certain guidelines of what the practice must be made up of.
The licensed professional counselor supervisor distinction is the most difficult one to obtain. Fortunately, not everyone who wants to work in behavioral therapy will need or even benefit from this extensive licensure program. It is mostly for those behavioral therapists who wish to supervise or manage other therapists or groups of therapists. To receive this licensure, you will need to have at least three credit hours in clinical supervision or at least 45 hours of continuing education in the subject. There are also various experiential requirements that must be met but which will vary depending upon the atmosphere in which you have worked and the manner in which you have worked.
Every behavioral therapist who wishes to actually practice therapy and to be legitimately referred to as a “therapist” must be licensed by the state of North Carolina. While there are many different methods of attaining state licensure and may different “levels” or types of licensure to receive, they are all basically a stamp of approval, proof that you know what you are doing and that you are capable of doing good work in the field and of interacting with patients or other behavioral therapists ethically, respectfully, and effectively.