An individual must be licensed to practice counseling in the state of North Carolina. Pursuant to NC General Statute § 90-336 there are three levels of licensure for licensed professional counselors. This is a three tiered licensure format.
The LCMHCA license is a restricted license, which allows individuals to gain professional counseling experience while under the supervision of qualified mental health professional. This license is the pre-requisite for the LCMHC license for new graduates and/or new counseling professionals. LCMHCAs CAN NOT work unless an approved supervision contract is on file with the Board Office. LCMHCA license numbers start with an “A”, for example A0000. LCMHCAs must complete all licensure requirements before a license can be issued.
The LCMHC license is an independent, unrestricted license. LCMHCs have completed at least 3,000 of supervised professional practice, with at 100 hours of supervision. LCMHCs typically have the same license number as their LCMHCA license, but there is no letter at the beginning. For example, an LCMHC license number 0000. LCMHCs must complete all licensure requirements before a license can be issued.
The LCMHCS license is an independent, unrestricted license. This license supersedes the LCMHC license. The LCMHCS license allows a person to practice counseling and grants approval by the Board to provide clinical supervision to LCMHCAs. LCMHCSs have at least 5 to 8 years of professional counseling experience and have completed the minimum education requirements in clinical supervision as approved by the Board. A LCMHCS applicant must have an active license in good standing as a NC LCMHC and meet the requirements in order to be approved by the Board. LCMHCS license numbers start with an “S”, for example S0000.
All NC licensees must comply with the NC Licensed Professional Counselors Act, the NCBLCMHC Administrative Code, and the ACA Code of Ethics. In addition, LCMHCSs are also required to comply with the ACS Code of Ethics.
NCBLCMHC does not regulate members of other regulated professions who do counseling in the normal course of the practice of their profession. Please refer to NC General Statute Article 24 § 90-332.1 to determine if you are working in an exempt setting.
North Carolina does not have reciprocity with other states. However, certain actively licensed professional counselors in other states can apply for the LCMHC license by endorsement if they meet the requirements. For more information, please visit our endorsement page.
The North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors has provisions for persons that are in the military or military spouses in accordance with NC Gen Stat § 93B‐15.1. Although the military does not provide military training or award a military occupational specialty license in professional counseling, if an applicant is a member of the military or military spouse, they may apply for licensure under the following requirements:
A member of the military who is seeking to become licensed as a clinical mental health counselor in North Carolina shall meet the following criteria:
(1) Has been awarded a military occupational specialty and has done all of the following at a level that is substantially equivalent to or exceeds the requirements for licensure, certification, or registration of the occupational licensing board from which the applicant is seeking licensure, certification, or registration in this State: completed a military program of training, completed testing or equivalent training and experience, and performed in the occupational specialty.
(2) Has engaged in the active practice of the occupation for which the person is seeking a license, certification, or permit from the occupational licensing board in this State for at least two of the five years preceding the date of the application under this section.
(3) Has not committed any act in any jurisdiction that would have constituted grounds for refusal, suspension, or revocation of a license to practice that occupation in this State at the time the act was committed and has no pending complaints.
No later than 30 days following receipt of an application, an occupational icensing board shall notify an applicant when the applicant's military training or experience does not satisfy the requirements for licensure, certification, or registration and shall specify the criteria or requirements that the board determined that the applicant failed to meet and the basis for that determination.
An occupational licensing board, as defined in G.S. 93B-1, shall issue a license, certification, or registration to a military-trained applicant to allow the applicant to lawfully practice the applicant's occupation in this State if the military-trained applicant, upon application to the occupational licensing board:
(1) Presents official, notarized documentation, such as a U.S. Department of Defense Form 214 (DD-214), or similar substantiation, attesting to the applicant's military occupational specialty certification and experience in an occupational field within the board's purview; and
(2) Passes a proficiency examination offered by the board to military-trained applicants in lieu of satisfying the conditions set forth in subsection (a) of this section; however, if an applicant fails the proficiency examination, then the applicant may be required by the board to satisfy those conditions.
In any case where a proficiency examination is not offered routinely by an occupational licensing board, the board shall design a fair proficiency examination for military-trained applicants to obtain licensure, certification, or registration under this section. If a proficiency examination is offered routinely by an oral licensing board, that examination shall satisfy the requirements of this section.
A military spouse who is seeking to become licensed as a clinical mental health counselor in North Carolina shall meet the following criteria:
(1) Holds a current license, certification, or registration from another jurisdiction, and that jurisdiction's requirements for licensure, certification, or registration are substantially equivalent to or exceed the requirements for licensure, certification, or registration of the occupational licensing board for which the applicant is seeking licensure, certification, or registration in this State.
(2) Can demonstrate competency in the occupation through methods as determined by the Board, such as having completed continuing education units or having had recent experience for at least two of the five years preceding the date of the application under this section.
(3) Has not committed any act in any jurisdiction that would have constituted grounds for refusal, suspension, or revocation of a license to practice that occupation in this State at the time the act was committed.
All relevant experience of a military service member in the discharge of official duties or, for a military spouse, all relevant experience, including full-time and part-time experience, regardless of whether in a paid or volunteer capacity, shall be credited in the calculation of years of practice in an occupation as required under subsection (a) or (b) of this section.
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