At Core Wellness CEU, we believe that there’s nothing as gratifying as the willingness and ability to help those in need. Working with them to get them through the tough and challenging times of their lives can stem from either having been on the opposite end of this spectrum or simply enjoying the benefits and challenges of the process. Whatever the reason, counseling is one of the most sought-after courses today, with counselors being one of the most sought-after professionals in the world; the number of counselors is forecasted to grow by 22% between 2018 and 2028.
Counseling is a diverse field, allowing practitioners to choose their area of work, such as school, university, working with agencies or setting up their own practice. They may also choose to work with individuals, groups or couples.
Aspiring counselors have to procure the required licenses and undergo the necessary training before they become professionals. Those with licenses to practice counseling, in New York, are referred to as Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs), while those without licenses (generally because they are yet to complete the required number of supervision hours) have a Limited Permit to practice. Licenses are provided by the state’s Board of Mental Health Practitioners (part of the New York State Education Department), with the American Counseling Association of New York being one of the governing bodies of counseling in the state.
Counseling students are required to meet the following criteria to become professional counselors:
- Completion of a master’s (or higher) counseling degree from any program recognized and accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or other such accrediting agencies.
- During these degree programs, students will have to complete 60 hours, during the semesters, of graduate-level coursework in core fields of study such as social and cultural foundations of counseling, human growth and development, psychopathology, group dynamics, counseling theory and practice, lifestyle and career development, professional orientation and ethics, research and program evaluation, assessment and appraisal of couples, families, individuals and groups and foundations of mental health counseling and consultation.
- Internship over a period of one year, under the supervision of a registered counselor or mental health counseling practicum, totaling at least 600 hours (this is not inclusive of post-graduate supervision).
- Counseling experience, during post-graduation, under supervision in a professional setting (3,000 hours with 1,500 hours of direct client contact).
- Aspirants also have to obtain passing marks on the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHCE), administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors, in which they’ll be tested on diagnosis, counseling, administration, consultation, psychotherapy, supervision and assessment through 10 cases on clinical mental health counseling that also test problem-solving capacity (identification, analysis and treatment).
For those who are already licensed, licenses expire every 3 years and hence, must be renewed by paying the required fee and completing the required continuing education. The New York Counselor CE requirements are 36 hours of continuing education every renewal, with a maximum of 12 hours dedicated to self-instructional coursework and the rest to formal education pertaining to mental health counseling, such as courses and development programs offered by local, state and national institutes. Those renewing licenses are notified 4 months before license expiry and must continue their education only under those providers approved by the New York State Board of Mental Health Practitioners.
The following may be deemed as continuing education:
- Teaching a course at a higher education or psychotherapy institute (approved by the New York State Board of Mental Health Practitioners).
- Completing a course at a higher education or psychotherapy institute (approved by the New York State Board of Mental Health Practitioners).
- Making a presentation of a professional conference sponsored by an approved provider.
- Authoring a first-time article in a published book or peer-reviewed journal.
- Authoring a book for the first time in the chosen field of counseling.
If aspirants have already obtained their counseling licenses but are practicing in a state different from the place of licensing, they can apply for “licensure by endorsement”. Additionally, the first 3 years post-registration are exempt from continuing education requirements. There is also no limit on the number of online hours of continuing education that the licensee can complete, as per the New York Counselor CE requirements.
There are 3 circumstances under which continuing education may be excused:
- Inactive: The licensee will not continue to practice in New York (though returning to the practice will require completion of continuing education).
- Adjustment: Cases of sickness, certified physical or mental disability (by healthcare professionals), or active duty with the United States’ Armed Forces or other reasons beyond the control of the licensee (as judged by the Department).
- Conditional Registration: Valid for a year and allows the licensee to continue working and making up the continuing education hours.
If the licensee was inactive in New York but still practicing in another state, he or she will have to complete one hour of continuing education, under the New York Counselor CE requirements, for each month of inactivity to be able to practice in New York again.