Licensure For Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

Celebrating 10 Years of Counseling EducationMental Health Counselor (LMHC) Licensure and Scope of Practice in the State of Massachusetts

Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) are qualified to provide services to individuals, groups, and/or families. They apply theories, principles, and methods of counseling and psychotherapy to define goals and develop plans of action aimed toward the prevention, treatment, and resolution of mental and emotional dysfunction and intra- or interpersonal difficulties. The practice of mental health counseling includes, but is not limited to, the assessment, diagnosis, and non-medical treatment of mental and emotional disorders, the application of psychoeducational techniques and measures aimed at the prevention of such disorders, and consultation to individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Graduates of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MA) program (with any of its concentrations), and graduates of all the Counseling Psychology MA programs prior to June 2016 (Counseling Psychology MA, Counseling Psychology & Community Mental Health MA, Counseling Psychology & Couples & Family Therapy MA, Counseling Psychology & Expressive Arts Therapy MA, Forensic & Counseling Psychology MA, Counseling Psychology & Global Mental Health MA, and Counseling & Health Psychology MA) will have fulfilled all the educational and pre-master's field experience requirements to qualify for LMHC licensure in Massachusetts. Before they can apply for licensure, however, they must complete an additional 3,360 hours (about two years) of supervised, post-master's work experience and pass the National Clinical Mental Health Examination (NCMHE), a written examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The postgraduate work experience must consist of direct, face-to-face clinical service with individuals, couples, groups, or families at sites or institutions that provide such services. Academic school counseling, vocational guidance services, industrial or organizational consulting services, teaching, and conducting research are excluded and will not count toward the post-master's experience requirement. Applicants for licensure in Massachusetts will be granted permission to sit for the NCMHE only after the Board of Registration has approved their course of academic study. As licensing requirements are prescribed by the Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions in Massachusetts , it is the responsibility of those intending to be licensed in the commonwealth to review the up-to-date licensing requirements.

If you are a William James College counseling graduate applying for counseling licensure, please  complete this form and send to the Department Chair with your request.

Massachusetts LMHC Pre-Licensure Educational Requirements

Described below are the educational and pre-Master's clinical field experience requirements for Mental Health Counselor licensure in Massachusetts and examples of how these are addressed within the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling curriculum.

Massachusetts LMHC Pre-Licensure Educational Requirements How addressed in the Counseling Psychology Department Curriculum
A) A Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling or a Related Field with a  minimum of 60 semester credits or 80 quarter credits from an integrated, planned, and comprehensive program from a Recognized Educational Institution. The MA Curriculum consists of 60 semester credit hours distributed within an organized and sequential program of study. William James College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), a regional accrediting body.

B) A practicum (minimum of 100 hours)

40 contact hours of direct client contact experience

25 supervisory contact hours (10 hours minimum individual; 5 hours minimum group; additional individual or group 10 hours minimum)

The practicum experience should be at a clinical field experience site as defined by the Board and supervised by a Board Approved Supervisor.

Practicum I & II and connected seminars (360+ hours)

90 hours of direct client contact

30 hours of supervision (10 hours minimum individual; 5 hours minimum group; additional individual or group 15 hours minimum)

Our Field Education Office ensures that the practicum experience and supervision meets the Board established criteria.

C) An internship (minimum 600 hours)

240 direct client contact hours

45 supervisory contact hours (15 individual minimum; 15 group minimum; remaining 15 may be either group or individual supervision)

The practicum experience should be at a clinical field experience site as defined by the Board and supervised by a Board Approved Supervisor.

Internship I & II and connected seminars (600+ hours)

240 direct client contact hours

45 supervisory contact hours (15 individual minimum; 15 group minimum; remaining 15 may be either group or individual supervision)

Our Field Education Office ensures that the internship experience and supervision meets the Board established criteria.

D) One, 3-semester hour or four quarter hour graduate-level course in each of the following ten areas:
1) Counseling Theory, Practice, and Techniques Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
2) Human Growth and Development Lifespan Development
3) Psychopathology Adult Psychopathology; Psychopathology of Childhood and Adolescence
4) Social and Cultural Foundations Diversity, Difference and Inclusion
5) Clinical Skills Practicum Seminar I: Helping Relationships I • Practicum Seminar II: Helping Relationships II: • Counseling Internship Seminar I; Counseling Internship Seminar II
6) Group Work Group Counseling and Psychotherapy
7) Special Treatment Issues, e.g., Pharmacology; Substance Abuse; School; Career Issues; Marriage & Family Treatment; Sexuality & Lifestyle Choices; Treating Special Populations

Substance Abuse Evaluation and Treatment

Introduction to Family Therapy

Career Counseling
Courses in elective concentration areas
8) Appraisal Psychological Appraisal and Assessment
9) Research & Evaluation Research and Program Evaluation
10) Professional Orientation Professional Issues and Ethics
E) One or more elective courses in areas relevant to the knowledge and skills relevant to the practice of mental health counseling. Three (3) elective courses, each worth three (3) credits. For specialty programs, directed courses substitute for the elective courses.

Master's Level Licensure Outside of Massachusetts

Because master's level licensure requirements and scope of practice vary across states, students who believe they might wish to practice in states other than Massachusetts are advised to contact directly the licensing boards in the particular state(s) where they hope to practice for information about their licensing requirements. Some of this information is also available in the American Counseling Association's (2007) Licensure Requirements for Professional Counselors: A State-by-State Report. This publication can be ordered via the American Counseling Association's website www.counseling.org. Information regarding state licensure requirements can also be found on the website for the National Board for certified Counselors (NBCC) www.nbcc.org/directory.

The student's academic advisor will address questions about licensure during the advising meetings. Since we are located in Massachusetts, we are required to follow the licensing regulations in Massachusetts.

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