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Lpc/lmhc?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by acidicspecies08, 10.10.07.

  1. acidicspecies08

    acidicspecies08

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    what is the difference between the LPC and the LMHC licenses? also, i hear that counselors dont get reimbursed by insurance companies and have a hard time finding jobs, is this true? would i have better job prospects with an LCSW? what are the differences in pay between an LCSW and an LPC/LMHC? lost of questions, i know, but i am very curious.
  2. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    it's my understanding that they're essentially the same thing, just a different name depending on the state that's doing the licensing.

    the non-reimbursement issue is only true for Medicare, unless there are a few private panels out there who do this. the company I worked for and every managed care company I've worked with credentials qualified counselors in addition to social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. typically reimbursement rate is tiered into masters-level therapy, doctoral-level psychology, and doctoral-level psychiatry.

    regarding finding jobs, I don't think they have any more difficult a time than social workers do. the training is very similar, as is pay scale. if you look for job openings online or in the paper, you'll see that many of them are looking for MSW/MA or LPC/LCSW- either discipline is eligible.

    I would say a big difference allotted by the MSW LCSW combination would be the ability to find work outside of mental health if/when you would get burned out on that. (it happens.) since the LPC route is targeted only at mental health, it's often the only option. (as an example, I said that I work at two hospitals as a medical social worker. per my boss at one, even though a LPC could absolutely do the forensic child abuse interviews that we do, our accreditation allows only MSWs and/or LCSWs to work in our department.)
  3. PsyKardinal

    PsyKardinal

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    Pingouin

    Aint it great we are getting all of these how to practice as a Masters level person questions, finally some folks are thinking outside of the box.

    Everyone else, I agree with Pingouin, as an LPC I have never been out of work longer then 2 weeks and usually only that long by choice. As to salary it has been just as competitive as what is being offered to the LCSWs. I would say the only advantage goes to the LCSW in that you can move in a less mental health more medical direction if you get tired of MH.

    There will be a few places that an LPC can not work that an LCSW can, and vise versa, I really would not worry about that part of things.

    Jeff
  4. princessrosered

    princessrosered

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    While I have not investigated this in every single state, I am fairly sure that while all states have only the LPC of LMHC, the LMHC requres more education (60 semester hours), whereas the LPC requires only 48 semester hours. States seem to be transitioning toward the higher credit requirement, so if you are not sure you will work in one state for the rest of your life, it may be to your benefit to go to an accredited program and get your degree in Mental Health Counseling instead of Community Counseling.
    Also, while I really and truly have no idea about any other state, Oregon seems to be behind the times because insurance companies are not reqired to reimburse LPC's. If you look at a list of preferred providers for say, blue cross/blue shield insurance, there are no LPC's. I certainly hope that this changes soon (for my sake), and that this is not the case most other places.
  5. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    Wow, that's really interesting! I'm in the Midwest, and LPCs are essentially considered interchangable with LCSWs around here as far as private practice goes. I used to work for a managed care company with a national presence, and I know that Texas and Florida also had LPCs (or the equivalent) on their panels as well.

    Now, individually different plans may elect to have different stipulations. I'm working with a kid at the hospital right now for whom I have to arrange outpatient follow-up. Her dad's in a union, and union stipulations are that the provider must be a "MD-level psychiatrist or a PhD-level psychologist, no LCSWs are covered at all". There ARE LPCs and LCSWs on the panel, they're just not approved for this particular plan. This is turning out to be a nightmare as far as discharge planning due to her location (home is in the boondocks), requirement of a niche specialty (eating disorder), and the fact that most of our usual referrals are LPC/LCSW. I said to the union rep, "You realize you guys are spending a lot of extra money, right?" and he just sighed and said "Yeah....".
  6. PsyKardinal

    PsyKardinal

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    pingouin

    Sorry about that lousy discharge planning experience, I ran into that a few times.

    I agree that in generally that most of the masters programs are moving in the 60 hour direction. I believe that in general it is going to become harder to become a masters level person. Either through needing to graduate from a credentialed program to gain licensure of completing 60 hours, or longer internship times.

    Jeff
  7. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    most discharge plans are difficult when working with EDs, but that's a different thread. ;)

    I didn't realize the programs had been 48 hours. Did that include practicum/internship? And how many credit hours vs clock hours are required for the MA Couns?
  8. PsyKardinal

    PsyKardinal

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    Yes the 48 hours did include the practicum/internship. I have no idea how that worked out well and produced good counselors. I attended a 60 hour program and took an extra year of classes for 72 and still did not feel prepared. I think that has more to do with reality shock then actual education, I think few people finish the education and are mentally ready to see clients and be responsible for care. Thank God for internship time.

    Jeff
  9. acidicspecies08

    acidicspecies08

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    this is a little aside from my original question, but does anyone know how to become a grief counselor? i really have it in my head that i want to work with either trauma or grief and bereavement, and i was wondering if their actually was such a thing as a grief counselor and, if so, how do u become one?
  10. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    :oops:

    She speaks the truth!!

    -t
  11. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    ALWAYS!

    one of my many faults.... :laugh:
  12. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    well.. hmm.. you could really get any of the degrees bantered around here and then pursue additional training in grief/loss. many schools have elective courses in that.. I get several continuing ed brochures every year for working with grief issues.. I suppose you could also look into pursuing training in critical incident stress debriefing (CISD), which are the folks who step in after a traumatic event to help the victims process their experiences as a group (ie, these are the counselors who will be meeting with the students/faculty at that high school in Cleveland).

    I'd focus more on getting into a quality program in general; niche training usually comes later, by picking an appropriate practicum site, seeking post-graduate training, and in which jobs you work after you have your degree.
  13. pacman8794

    pacman8794

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    What kinds of things would I be doing as an MHC and what area of Psych do I go for my Masters in Psych. for to achieve that title? Also, I've heard the term LPC. How can I become that and what does that job entail a well?
  14. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    *Moving over a similar topic.......*

    -t
  15. PsyKardinal

    PsyKardinal

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    Pacman

    LMHC - Means mental health counselor
    LPC - Licensed professional counselor

    These are fairly interchangable, differant states use differant designations. As to the education and how to get there, you will need a masters of counseling vs a masters of psychology. Although in some states you maybe able to license with the masters of psychology as an LPC. I know in Texas that you can not do that right now. Good luck, and read some of the latest threads we have been having some good discussions about these topics.

    Jeff
  16. pacman8794

    pacman8794

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    thanks, so i at least now I know I need my masters in counseling psych to be an LPC or LMHC depending on the state giving the title. What about if i got a masters in clinical psych? Would I be able to get a special title like LMHC and have a private practice?
  17. PsyKardinal

    PsyKardinal

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    Pacman

    The masters degree is just in Counseling, not counseling psych. As to a masters in Psych you will not be able to practice independently, you can become a licensed psychological associate and work under supervision with a psychologist. It will not allow you run your own practice though.

    Jeff
  18. paramour

    paramour

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    I worked at a BCBS in another part of the country, and the same is true here. They do not reimburse for LPC/LMHC/LCSW or basically any other provider of mental health services if you are not an MD/PhD/EdS. Even PsyD's sometimes have difficulty getting them to approve their services which is semi-bizarre.

    HOWEVER, for GROUP-sponsored policies (through the employer) only, then THE GROUP may elect to add a rider that gives additional benefits for LCSW's. Of course, these policies are still extremely rare as any "extra" benefits are going to cost them more money. We usually only saw these benefits on national accounts who were already spending a large amount of money for their policies anyway. Smaller groups sometimes added them for a brief period of time and then eventually removed them once they saw the cost difference.
  19. pacman8794

    pacman8794

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    I'm a little confused now; I have to go for my masters in counseling if I want to be a therapist and have my own private practice? How does that work when I apply to school; what does that have to do with psych? Bascially getting my masters in counseling or clinical psych won't allow me to have a private practice or do things i want to do. What kind of thing can I do w/ a masters in counseling or clinical psych then?

    What's a terminal Masters in counseling or clinical psych used for then if you can't have a private practice?
  20. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    That's just wild to me... such the opposite of where I am.

    The kid with the restrictive policy I mentioned above.. they also do not cover psych nurse practitioners. I didn't ask about PsyDs... In addition to the discharge planning problems (now solved :) ), we also had to flip me over from "med SW" to "psych SW" on her case, b/c we don't have a psychiatrist in-house- we have a psych NP who evals and then consults psychiatry. Since she couldn't bill, I did all the follow-up therapeutic work since I'm paid by the hospital.
  21. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    At the MS level...Counseling and Clinical Psychology are two different things. Both are fruit, one is an apple, one is an orange. As a MHC you can have a private practice, though you can't do things like assessment testing, that is reserved for doctoral level clinicians. An MS in clinical psych, it is more of an intermediate step since the license that goes along with this is not for private practice.

    As for PsyD reimbursement, it shouldn't matter because it goes by the LICENSE, not the degree. For instance, if you are licensed at the doctoral level, that is how you are reimbursed. I have heard some of the policy employees aren't very informed about PsyDs, so that is more of an annoyance than an actual barrier to practice.

    -t
  22. pacman8794

    pacman8794

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    I think a list would help me so I could sort out what goes w/ what. If you just have your license as a Master's you can only listen to the patient or? If you're not able to do assesment or psychological tests then what can you do?

    Ex: LMHC or LPC- Master's in Counseling Psych.? Things one could do as an LMHC?
  23. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    People I know who have LPCs function as:

    therapists in private practice
    school counselors
    crisis counselors
    community mental health-based case managers
    managed care case managers
    hospital-based psych/CD intake
    therapists in inpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient psychiatric and CD programs
    substance abuse counselors
    EAP counselors

    That's just off the top of my head, and certainly not an exhaustive list. Every single one of those jobs, I know LCSWs who do them as well- again, essentially interchangeable as far as many employers are concerned.
  24. melisah013

    melisah013

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    Hey Everyone,
    I am currently studying my Master of Clinical Psychology in Australia and I am looking at moving to America (probably MA) to work when I finish it, I am totally confused with the licensing stuff, what would I need to work where and how do I apply for it? by the end of my degree I will have done 1,000 hours of supervised practice.
    In Australia this is all we need to do to become a registered psychologist, I am under the impression that this isn't true in America?
    Please help!
  25. Jennifer820

    Jennifer820

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    You will not be eligible for many hospital or government positions with a LCPC.
  26. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    If you have any idea of which state you'll be living in, I strongly suggest contacting that state's licensing board about whether your degree and experience will meet their requirements. There is no US-wide licensure; every state has their own criteria. I *suspect* that your supervised hours would have to be redone here (and we require 3000-4000, typically), as I've always seen boards require the supervisor to be licensed in the state where the supervisee is applying. Take that opinion with a grain of salt, though. ;)
  27. pacman8794

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    does anyone know if New Jersey and New York have any issues w/ not licensing for people who want to be LPCs. I don't think they do, but I just want to make sure. I'll probably end up going to a school in New Jersey or New York, get my masters in counseling psych, and go for the LPC title. I don't want to have any problems w/ the license after i get the masters.
  28. PsyKardinal

    PsyKardinal

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  29. Forensic MA

    Forensic MA

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    I believe that some Universities offer a program that is Psychological Counseling in Mental Health. Which is a counseling Psyc. Program that leads to the LMHC . In NY everything has changed so much just in the last six months I am really not to sure anymore. I get advertisements from my own college about the new programs they are starting. Best bet would be to check the state that you want to practice in, email the state psychological association for the accurate info.
  30. psychmaster2008

    psychmaster2008

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    In the state of Texas you can become an LPC (licensed professional counselor) if you have a masters in clinical psychology. What you will have to do is find out what classes are missing from the clinical psychology program that is required for the LPC licensure. I currently live in TX and have a master's in clinical psychology. Clinical psychology prepares you to become a Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA), but it is hard to find anyone to supervise you because in TX, LPC are reimbursed for mental health services and LPAs are not. Also in TX, once you have completed your supervision hours and taken the test for LPC, you can have an independent practice. In the state of TX, anyone that meets the class requirements, passes the test and completes supervision, can become an LPC. I know social workers that have gotten their LPC and not the LMSW or LCSW. In TX it is easier to become an LPC or a LCSW than an LPA.
  31. PsyKardinal

    PsyKardinal

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    psychmaster2008, sorry but have to call you on this. A while back the laws changed in Texas you must have a degree in counseling to become an LPC. Probably the best thing for a person to do is switch programs to a counseling program and see if they can get classes transfered over to the counseling program.

    Jeff
  32. laurine97

    laurine97

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    Sorry to resurrect an old thread!

    I'm currently considering two programs in TX. Both meet requirements for LPC testing and licensure at the end. They look like this:

    School A - Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, 48 hours
    School B - Master of Arts in Clinical Psych, 61 hours

    Both have 3-semester practicum and are followed by internship. Then I'll be able to sit for the LPC.

    This just seems very different from the information posted above.
  33. winnicot

    winnicot

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    I have not found in any of the many threads a discussion of this particular question, but please forgive if this has been covered elsewhere.

    I am a postdoc in psychology, but am considering becoming licensed as a mental health counselor in New York. This would enable me to obtain a position that requires a nys license, even before sitting for the psychology licensing exam.

    Can anyone direct me to information on how to become a lmhc when one's formal training is in psychology. What is the exam I would have to take, and what forms do I need to fill out in order to register for the exam? If anyone either knows the answers to these questions, has done it him/herself, or can direct me to a website with information I'd be very grateful.

    Thanks in advance.
  34. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    You'll need to contact the NY licensing board. They should have a website you can look at that will list the requirements for licensure as an MHC. Some states are easier than others to get licensure at the MS level like that, so you may have to jump through some paperwork hoops.
  35. NY Counselor

    NY Counselor

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    The license in NY is LMHC. You need 60 credits with 900 hour practicum. After you obtain your MA or MS, you need to work under supervision for 3000 hours in order to sit for the licensing exam. Only then can you call yourself a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). Good luck trying to get someone to hire you for the supervised hours in NY though. I got my degree in Florida and then decided to move back to NY 2 years ago and I still haven't found a job with supervision. The NYS office of Professions makes it so difficult for you to attain your hours that I don't think I'll ever get my license. First they scrutinize you transcripts and they have strict requirements about who will be your supervisor. This is the way they do it; before they give you a permit to practice, you have to obtain employment, submit the organization and the supervisor's credentials, wait for them to approve all of this before you can begin working. Also, the license is so new in NY that many organizations either don't recognize it as a viable degree or they don't want to be bothered supervising and submitting reports to the NYS. Should you decide to pursue this in NY, I hope you have better luck than me. I'm actually looking to change my career after all the time and expense to get my degree.
  36. sunlioness

    sunlioness Psychiatrist

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    It's the same . . . it just depends on what state you're in. LPCs do get reimbursed by private insurers, but not by Medicare. LCSWs are able to get reimbursed by Medicare. Personally I also think that LCSWs are better trained, but that may just be my bias. :)

    Oops I didn't realize how old the original question was when I just answered it. Sorry!
  37. Hirau

    Hirau

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    go here.. you will find all the information about licensing for Massachusetts
    www.mass.gov/reg/boards/mh
  38. Hirau

    Hirau

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    please give me your feedback on the two: LMHC or LPC.. which one is more in demand? :)
  39. jdawgg

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    Most states that I know of only have either an LMHC or LPC, not both... they have roughly the same requirements, again, depending on your state. In certain states (mostly East coast) social workers are more dominant, though in most states counselors have parity with social workers in the job market.
  40. jenco2006

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    A Licensed Professional Counselor in Pennsylvania has to go through a very rigorous study program. It requires 60 credits from an accredited University. I just finished a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Shippensburg University. It is a CACREP certified school (this means more rigid standards are used for the University to receive that credential, such as, only PhD. professors can teach some of the courses). I had to have 4 internships during my program all totaling 1050 hours, and this is just for the Masters. After that, if you want to get your LPC, you must first pass an exam in Pennsylvania known as the Nationally Certified Counselor's Exam (NCE). It is a rigorous 4 hour exam, and no fun at all! Then, you have to do an extra 3 years or 3600 hours of supervised counseling (whichever comes first) with 180 hours of direct supervision. Only after that can you apply for the license. I am currently employed and have been paneled with Medicare and Medicaid. After I get my LPC, the company I work for will make sure I am paneled with several other insurance companies in Pennsylvania. You will most likely make $30,000 to $40,000 a year starting out, but have potential to make more the longer you are in the field. We have many LCSW's that work at my place of employment, and get paid exactly what we do. Also, I felt that I was very prepared for my job once I finished my education, and have been very satisfied so far in this field. I am planning to go into private practice within the next year or so, and am very excited about it!
    Last edited: 02.04.11
  41. psydtobe

    psydtobe

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    requirements definitely vary by state. my program only required 48 hours, but i took extra electives as my state requires 60 credit hours. i could have graduated and moved elsewhere that allows you essentially practice straight out of school. check with the location's requirements first.
  42. SkeeterLPC

    SkeeterLPC

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    Sorry psykardinal, but YOU are the one that is wrong. I live in Texas and happened to get my Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and am now an LPC in Texas. You do not have to get your Master's degree in Counseling to become an LPC in the state of Texas
  43. ppl1st

    ppl1st

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    Skeeter LPC,
    I'm currently a grad student in Texas for Clinical Psychology. Can you give a little insight about the field/business for LPC? I'm hoping to finish my program Fall'11.
  44. djsbpd

    djsbpd

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    After you click his link, click, in this order:

    1) Statutes and Regulations
    2) Rules and Regulations Governing Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals
    3) CMR 2.00: Requirements For Licensure As a Mental Health Counselor

    You'll find all of the information there. Make sure you look at the post-July 1998 information as both pre and post 1998 are listed still.

    I'm currently going back to school myself to finish first my bachelor's degree in Human Services (because that mixes Psychology and Sociology nicely for a good foundation for either an MSW or a MS in Mental Health Counseling) and then either an MSW or an MS in Mental Health Counseling. I live in Massachusetts, so I have been doing the research on this myself.

    It looks to me like they require at least a 48 semester credit Master's Degree (though most degrees I've seen have 60 semester credits or the equivalent in quarter credits) and it is very clear that they have ten specific areas that your course of study MUST cover in order to qualify you to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. If your degree program doesn't cover one or more of these areas, you can probably find a school that will let you take a class or two to fill in the gaps, but I'd check on that. The Board MIGHT tell you but I've included a link to a group that might be more helpful. They didn't help me at all, didn't even answer me, but I haven't even finished my bachelor's degree yet so I think when they were looking down there noses at me they got dizzy or something. The board DOES NOT REVIEW YOUR APPLICATION UNTIL YOU HAND IT IN, so you may want to see if someone at this other group will at least give your app a once over or something. They're supposed to be a professional organization for LMHCs so you'd think that they'd do something like that.

    Here is where the licensing board sent me after taking more time than it would have taken to just answer my questions (but that is Massachusetts for you):

    If further "one-on-one" guidance is needed, the Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association (MaMHCA) may be of assistance. Licensure application help is offered to both members and non-members for a fee. For more information please contact MaMHCA at (508) 698-0010 or on the web at www.mamhca.org. Please note that the Board does remain the final authority on the approval of all licensure applications.

    I think, once you manage to jump through all of the hoops, you should be fine. Figuring what hoops to jump through is going to be a little bit of a pain, especially because instead of an MS or M.Ed. in Mental Health Counseling, you are using a 'degree in a related field' to qualify for your LMHC. You will probably jump through at least one wrong hoop in this process, so don't get too frustrated.

    Hope this helps. Good luck to you!

    David
  45. katlady

    katlady

    Joined:
    07.14.11
    Messages:
    1
    Status:
    Non-Student

    I have a question? Can a mental health person that has both of these LPC/LMHC behind her name access a client and give a mental health diagnosis like one that has a phD?


    Kat
  46. criskad

    criskad

    Joined:
    03.03.10
    Messages:
    4
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    In NJ, you can apply as a Licensed Associate Counselor, as long as you've finished school (60 credit hours) and have taken the test. After you complete 4500 supervised work hours, then you can apply to for the LPC. Has anyone gone through this process in NJ yet?
  47. champagnewishes

    champagnewishes

    Joined:
    12.14.11
    Messages:
    1
    Is is true that in Texas after you complete all the requires supervision, ect.. You can go into private practice as a LPC? Also can LPC's be billed thru medicare in TX? In short would you recommend becoming a LPC in TX? I currently has a Masters in Education, but want to get into soething different. I see that many people recommend a MSW. Can smeone tell me that current laws and career opportunities as a LPC in TX?

    THANK YOU!!!!:)
  48. Student2337

    Student2337

    Joined:
    10.01.14
    Messages:
    1
    I recently graduated from a CACREP aligned (60 cr/ 1000 hr practicum and internship/ PhDs instructors etc) masters in Mental Health counseling program from Florida and moved to Pennsylvania. I am looking for places to begin my hours for licensure that offer supervision but am struggling at finding anywhere. Do you have any suggestions of places I can look into? Also, do you know if I get licensed as an LPC and later move to a state with LMHC licensing, what would the process of changing over my license be like? Or would I have to complete hours and examinations over again?

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