Human Services Guide
       
 

Counseling Licensure in Tennessee

Some states feature only one level of licensure however, in the state of Tennessee there are two levels of licensure the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and the Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider (LPC/MHSP). You are able to progress your licensure process in both levels simultaneously although you will need to be an LPC before you can become an LPC/MHSP.

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You will need to take the following steps in order to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider (LPC/MHSP) in Tennessee:

  1. The first step to take is to complete the education component by attaining your Master of Counseling degree from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited university.
  2. You will need to complete a practicum.
  3. If you are applying for the LPC/MHSP title you will need additional specialized coursework.
  4. Pass a criminal background check.
  5. Accrue enough hours to meet the standards for the supervised experience requirement. This will vary depending on whether you want to become an LPC or an LPC/MHSP in Tennessee.
  6. Apply with the Tennessee Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and Licensed Pastoral Therapists take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title.
  7. Apply to the Tennessee Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and Licensed Pastoral Therapists so you can take your National Mental Health Counselor Examination (NMCHE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title.
  8. Apply to the Tennessee Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and Licensed Pastoral Therapists to receive your Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider (LPC/MHSP) title.

Educational Requirements

Tennessee regulations require that prospective Counselors must fulfill the following educational components as part of the licensure process.

  • The wise course if you are entering college is to first earn your Bachelor’s degree in Counseling. Many Masters of Counseling programs will view the Bachelor of Counseling to be the most desirable degree for applicants. If you are not planning on getting your Bachelor of Counseling, then you will want to earn a Bachelor’s in a highly related Behavioral Science field such as Psychology, Social Work or Human Services.
  • The next step is to apply to and get accepted into a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited Master of Counseling program.
  • You will need to complete both a practicum and an internship during your graduate studies.
  • Your practicum must be a minimum of 500 hours with a minimum of 300 hours of client at some form of clinical mental health setting.
  • If you are working towards the LPC/MHPC title you will need to have understanding via course work in: treatment, appraisal, diagnosis of mental disorders including use of the current DSM manual as well as an understanding of how to make long term treatment plans.

Supervised Experience

There are two different levels of experience required for the LPC and LPC/MHSP titles. You will need to complete the following for the LPC and the LPC/MHSP additional requirements will be noted below:

  • Additionally, if you are working toward MHSP status, you will need to meet the following requirements:
  • You will need to accrue at least 3,000 hours of clinical work; at least 1,500 must be face-to-face client contact.
  • You will need a broad background – settings which focus on only one aspect of counseling will not allow you to meet the requirements.
  • You may choose to work less than full-time, but you will need to complete your supervised experience within four years.
  • You must have at least an hour a week of formal, individual contact with your supervisor.
  • You will need to accrue at least 100 individual supervision hours before you can achieve professional licensing.
  • An additional 50 hours of supervision may be either individual or group.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • For those working towards the LPC title, you will need to complete 1040 hours over a two year period.
  • For the LPC title you will need 50 hours of direct supervision from a qualified supervisor each year.
  • LPC candidates may be supervised by LPC, LPC/MHSP, Senior psychological examiner, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Clinical Social Worker or Marriage and Family therapist. All of these must have a current and active license in Tennessee.
  • For those working towards LPC/MHSP title you cannot have an LPC supervisor from the above list. You must have an LPC/MHSP supervisor or one of the other listed mental health professionals.
  • For those working towards the LPC/MHSP title you will need 3000 hours of supervised clinical experience with 1500 hours of direct client service.
    You will need a minimum of 100 hours of individual supervision as well as another 50 of which can be group supervision by a board approved supervisor.
  • Apply for and Take Your NCE or NCMHCE
  • Now you will need to apply with the board to sit for your exam:
  • Apply to the Tennessee Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and Licensed Pastoral Therapists to take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) if you wish to become an LPC.
  • Pass the NCE with a score acceptable under Tennessee law.
  • You must also pass a Tennessee Jurisprudence examination.
  • To become a LPC/MHSP you will need to complete the steps for LPC add the additional work experience as described in the section above and then apply to the Tennessee Board of Licensed
  • Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and Licensed Pastoral Therapists to take your National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
  • You will need to pass the NCMHCE with a score acceptable to the board.
    Apply for Your LPC or LPC/MHSP Title
  • After you have taken the NCE or NCMHCE and received a score that is considered passing by the Tennessee Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and
  • Licensed Pastoral Therapists you will be able to apply with the board for your LPC or LPC/MHSP title.
    Apply to the Tennessee Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and Licensed Pastoral Therapists for your LPC title.
  • You will need to provide two professional letters of recommendation.
  • You can find the appropriate form here: http://health.state.tn.us/boards/PC_MFT&CPT/PDFs/PH-2722.pdf
  • For the LPC/MHSP title you will also need to apply after meeting all the requirements for both LPC and LPC/MHSP. You can find the correct form here: http://health.state.tn.us/boards/PC_MFT&CPT/PDFs/PH-2722.pdf
  • Continuing Education and License Renewal
  • Tennessee laws state that you will need to renew your license every two years.
  • You will need to complete 10 hours of continuing education credits.
  • It is important to take the time to visit the Tennessee Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and Licensed Pastoral Therapists website and stay current on the law. You can find the website here: http://health.state.tn.us/boards/PC_MFT&CPT/index.htm
       
 
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