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Accreditation, Certification and Licensure Information

 

 

Preface
Many of our graduate students and alumni inquire about national or state certification, licensure, and our program's accreditation. This document attempts to clarify these issues as they pertain to FSU's M.S. in Counseling Psychology Program and your training.

It should be noted that the main objective of the program at FSU is to prepare students for employment in settings such as mental health clinics, counseling centers, and human services agencies. In such areas of employment, licensure or certification may not be required by your employer.


Definitions

Accreditation - Approval given to a learning institution, or a program at that institution, by an official review board after the school has met specific requirements.
Certification and Licensure - Official or legal permission to practice counseling and/or psychology. This permission is usually granted by a state or national board. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Credentialing - A program that has met certain minimum curricular requirements established by a state or national board, and/or other professional organizations (e.g. CAMPP, see below).

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FSU'S Accreditation
FSU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and by the Masters in Psychology Accreditation Council (MPAC).


FSU'S M.S. in Counseling Psychology Program's Credentialing
FSU's M.S. in Counseling Psychology Program is a member of the Council of Applied Master's Programs in Psychology (CAMPP). In order to qualify for membership, the program was reviewed with respect to total number of credit hours and areas of emphasis (curriculum). The basis upon which the program was accepted for membership into CAMPP constitutes CAMPP's credentialing process.

CAMPP has joined with the Northamerican Association of Masters in Psychology (NAMP) to form the Masters in Psychology Accreditation Council (MPAC) formerly the Interorganizational Board for Accreditation of Masters in Psychology Programs (IBAMPP). Several years ago, the M.S. faculty at FSU decided to wait and seek accreditation from a psychology organization rather than pursue accreditation with the Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) because of their identity with educational programs. The program at FSU strongly identifies itself with psychological science and seeks accreditation with a body of similar emphasis.

Subsequently, MPAC initiated their accreditation process (Fall 1995). Our program submitted the accreditation application with MPAC early in the Spring 1997 semester. We received notification that our graduate program received accreditation from MPAC on January 23, 1998. MPAC accredits psychology programs that promote training in the scientific practice of professional psychology at the Master's level.

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State Certification and/or Licensure in Maryland
After reading the following directions, click here for Maryland COMAR Regulations on Education and Experience Required for Certification. On the right side of the screen click on COMAR Online, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on search option #1, in the box provided type in the regulation # 10.58.01.05 and enter, then click on the link for that regulation.

The state of Maryland certifies professional counselors at a master's or doctorate level. To meet certification requirements you first must have a master's or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited educational institution that has been approved by the Maryland State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. FSU meets this accreditation requirement. In addition, FSU's M.S. in Counseling Psychology Program offers the course work that is required for certification excluding one course (GUCO 608) which can be taken in FSU's M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling Program.

Also, the state of Maryland licenses doctoral level psychologists. If you plan to pursue a Ph.D degree you can obtain additional information about Maryland's licensure requirements from the State Board.


Master's Level Certification Options

As a master's level graduate you have several certification options available:

  1. Obtain certification as a Certified Professional Counselor (C.P.C.) from the State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.
  2. Obtain certification as a Psychology Associate. This option allows you to use the term "Psychology" in your title and requires that you are supervised by a licensed Psychologist. To obtain additional information for this option contact:  Board of Examiners for Psychologists, 201 West Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399, phone (410) 764-4787
  3. Obtain certification in a specialization area: A). Substance Abuse and Addictions; or B) Marriage and Family Counseling. For information on these specialization areas contact the State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.

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Requirements for certification as a C.P.C. for master's level graduates

  • Complete a minimum of 60 graduate credit hours in counselor training that has been approved by the Board. At least 3 credits of course work must be completed in each of the identified core curricular areas.
  • Complete not less than three years of supervised experience in counseling, with a minimum of 3,000 hours. You can complete not more than 1000 hours of pre-master's supervised experience. The remaining required hours must be completed after the award of your master's degree.
  • Pass the state exam which is the National Counselor Examination (NCE). This exam may be waived if: 1) you are licensed or certified in another state which grants a reciprocal waiver to licensees of Maryland; or 2) you have passed another exam approved by the Board.

Note: Being state certified does not guarantee that you will be eligible to receive third-party payments in the state of Maryland. If you are in private practice, whether or not you receive third-party payments depends upon the insurance companies in your area.

To obtain complete details for Maryland certification as a C.P.C. contact:

Aileen Taylor, Administrator
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors
Metro Executive Center, 3rd Floor
4201 Patterson Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21215-2299
Telephone: (410) 764-4732

Supervised Experience Requirement


With respect to the supervised experience requirement, internship hours at FSU are under the direct supervision of a Maryland licensed psychologist, the M.S. Program Coordinator. The M.S. Program Coordinator is officially responsible for contractual arrangements between the M.S. program and internship sites. Therefore, a Maryland licensed psychologist provides the signature attesting to supervised hours. The Program Coordinator is the appropriate person to sign your application for certification /licensure where documentation of supervised internship hours is required.

The maximum number of supervised internship hours that a student at FSU can obtain as part of the M.S. Counseling Psychology Program is 1080 hours (12 credits per semester x 3 hours on site for each FSU credit hour x 15 weeks of internship per semester x 2 semesters).

Students who have graduated from our program (e.g. Alumni) may be allowed to re-enroll in Internship to obtain additional hours under licensed supervision, if necessary.

According to the Program Coordinator, graduates from the FSU's M.S. in Counseling Psychology Program have not had a problem obtaining C.P.C. certification in the state of Maryland, taking the program's required courses for graduation plus PSYC 550, PSYC 586*, GUCO 608 and additional elective course work to achieve the total of 60 credit hours in counselor training.

* one, three credit graduate course in chemical dependency was added to the requirements in October, 1996.

The M.S. Program Coordinator has a copy of the identified course work needed for C.P.C.'s.

Pennsylvania
A doctoral degree is required for licensure in Pennsylvania. Counselors at the master's level are not certified. At this time there is discussion among the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO's) in Pennsylvania to allow recognition for the National Counselor Certification.
West Virginia
West Virginia licenses professional counselors at the master's level who pass the NCE and have obtained two years of supervised experience by a licensed psychologist, one year of which must be post-master's degree.
In order to be a licensed psychologist in West Virginia, you must have either a doctorate degree and pass the Professional Examination Service exam (PES), or have a master's degree, pass the PES and have five years experience supervised by a license psychologist.
Other States
The M.S. in Counseling Psychology Program has information on certification and/or licensure for Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania only. The American Counseling Association (ACA) has compiled a handout summarizing requirements for all states and appropriate state contacts for additional information. This handout is available from the M.S. Program Coordinator.

NOTE: It would be to your benefit to contact the state board of the state in which you plan to work before graduation to ascertain their requirements for licensure and/or certification.
 

National Certification
The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) is a non-profit voluntary corporation organized in 1982 to establish a national certification system for professional counselors.

NBCC offers a National Counselor Examination (NCE) which identifies professionals who may be eligible to become National Certified Counselors (NCC). In addition, NBCC offers a specialty certification to become a Master Addictions Counselor (MAC). The purpose of the NCE is to assess professional counselors' knowledge of counseling information and skills viewed as important for providing appropriate counseling services. Thirty-five states have adopted the NCE as part of their statutory certifying process, including Maryland and West Virginia.

In addition, some states do not certify counselors with a Master's degree, and national certification provides a valid professional credential. To obtain information on national certification contact:

National Board of Certified Counselors, Inc.
3 Terrace Way, Suite D
Greensboro, NC 27403-3660
(910) 547-0607

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Future Trends
Managed Care has been a political agenda in our country to establish standards for health care providers. These standards influence the type of services that are available in counseling settings, the duration of these services, and those who provide the care. The current and anticipated trend for managed care counseling is to provide focused therapy, with a short duration of treatment, for specific concerns or problems. This trend shifts the focus of counseling away from viewing the person as a whole with the expectation of long term client care. Also with the onset of managed care, another trend may be preferential reimbursement of Master's level providers because they are not as costly as Doctoral level psychologists.

Professional Organizations

This list consists of professional organizations that you may want to become familiar with as they will pertain to your development as a counselor and/or your future certification/licensure plans.

North American Association of Masters in Psychology (NAMP). Members are Master's level psychologists who address issues relevant to Master's level professionals. To obtain additional information contact:

NAMP
c/o Box 721270
Norman, OK 73070
(405) 329-3030


American Counseling Association (ACA) was formerly American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA) and American Association for Counseling and Development (AACD). The ACA is an educational, scientific, and professional organization dedicated to the professional growth and enhancement of emerging counselors. The ACA offers many services to graduate students such as student liability insurance. To obtain additional information contact:

American Counseling Association (ACA)
5999 Stevenson Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22308-3300
1-800-347-6647


Council of Applied Master's Programs in Psychology (CAMPP). Members are Master's level training programs in psychology; sets standards for training. FSU's program is a CAMPP member.


Masters in Psychology Accreditation Council (MPAC), formerly the Interorganizational Board for Accreditation of Masters in Psychology Programs (IBAMPP) is made up of CAMPP and NAMP representatives to accredit Master's level programs.


The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards for Psychology and licensure questions.


National Board for Certified Councelors is a link to use when you have licensure and certifications questions, and for information on the National Councelors Exam (NCE).

Glossary


Institutional Accreditation
Institutional Accreditation is granted by regional and national accrediting commissions. Accreditation is awarded based on an institution's overall compliance with specific criteria. A college or university should have institutional accreditation and may seek accreditation from any of the specialized accrediting bodies for a particular program.

Certification
Certification is the process by which a national or state board grants recognition to an individual who has met the predetermined professional standards it has specified.

Contact Clock Hours
Contact Clock Hours refer to the number of actual hours spent in direct participation between learner and instructor or facilitator. Time devoted to preparation for activities, independent study, assignments, and socializing is not calculated in the actual number of hours granted.

Continuing Education
Continuing Education refers to formal activities that enhance and upgrade professional counseling knowledge and skills which include seminars, workshops, internships, and advanced graduate or postgraduate courses.

Credentialing
Credentialing is the formal endorsement or professional standards and refers specifically to accreditation, certification, and licensure.

Licensure
Licensure is the process by which a state agency or government grants permission to an individual to engage in a given occupation upon finding that the individual has attained the minimal requirements to ensure that the public health safety and welfare will be reasonably well protected.

Professional Counseling Experience
Professional Counseling Experience refers to the provision of counseling and related services in a professional setting; included are counselor education, human service delivery, and counseling in mental health, rehabilitation, correctional, employment, pastoral, academic, career and vocational settings

Register
Register is a document that lists by name and other pertinent information those individuals who have been certified by a professional certification board. Such a document is published and offered to the public upon request to assist them in identifying certified counselors.

Related Professional Counseling Fields
Related Professional Counseling Fields are those professional fields related to and supportive of counseling such as human development, psychology, social work, psychiatry, psychiatric nursing, gerontology, marriage and family therapy, pastoral counseling, human services, and other approved by the NBCC.

Specialized Accreditation
Specialized Accreditation is awarded to professional programs within institutions or to occupational schools offering specific training skills and knowledge. Specialized accrediting bodies define standards of excellence in educational training programs for recognized professions. CACREP is specialized accreditation since only counselor education and related programs are eligible.

Supervised Counseling Experience
Supervised Counseling Experience is the provision of counseling services within a professional counseling setting under the direction of a counselor (preferably certified) or a qualified professional from a related field.

 

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National Board of Certified Counselors

The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) is a non-profit voluntary corporation organized in 1982 to establish a national certification system for professional counselors.

NBCC offers a National Counselor Examination (NCE) which identifies professionals who may be eligible to become National Certified Counselors (NCC). In addition, NBCC offers a specialty certification to become a Master Addictions Counselor (MAC). The purpose of the NCE is to assess professional counselor's knowledge of counseling information and skills viewed as important for providing appropriate counseling services. Thirty-five states have adopted the NCE as part of their statutory certifying process, including Maryland and West Virginia.

For the latest information in qualifying, visit http://www.nbcc.org, click on Applicants/Grad Students, then click on eligibility check list for prospective NCC applicants.


To qualify for national certification applicants must:

  • Complete at least 48 credit hours in graduate course work in each of the following eight areas:
    1. Human Growth and Development
    2. Social and Cultural Foundations
    3. Helping Relationships (includes counseling theories and techniques)
    4. Group Work
    5. Career Lifestyle and Development
    6. Appraisal
    7. Research and Program Evaluation
    8. Professional Orientation and Ethics
       
  • Plus: Internship - Two academic semesters of supervised field experience.
     
  • Hold an advanced degree (master's or higher) with a major study in counseling from a regionally accredited college or university.
     
  • Pass the NCE which covers all eight curricular areas. You can take the exam after you have received your degree and before your have completed your post-master's supervised counseling experience. If you pass the exam you will receive Board Eligible Status which is valid for a maximum of three (3) years to allow for completion of your supervised counseling experiece. Alternately, you can complete the two years of supervised counseling experience before you take the exam. NBCC sells a Preparation Guide for the NCE.
     
  • Complete two years of post-master's supervised counseling experience with an accumulation of 3,000 client contact hours and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision over a minimum of two years since the date of your advanced degree with a major study in counseling. Your counseling supervisor(s) must hold an advanced degree in counseling or a closely related field (social work, psychology, or marriage and family therapy). The 3,000 client contact hours includes both internship and post-master's supervised counseling experience.

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Length of NBCC Certification:
National Certified Counselors are certified for a period of five years. At the end of this period the recertification requirements are:

  1. Provide evidence of completion of 100 contact clock hours of continuing education or reexamination.
  2. Adhere to the NBCC Code of Ethics in professional practice.
  3. Pay annual maintenance fee


Advantages for obtaining the NCC:
Some states do not certify counselors with a Master's degree and national certification provides a valid professional credential.

Being nationally certified establishes that you have meet a national standard which may be deemed as a higher credential than those offered in some states. This may also mean that the national requirements are more stringent than state requirements (e.g. some states may not have continuing education requirements). In addition, the board members of NBCC are all couseling professionals unlike state boards which may have more of a legal/law influence. This aspect is important because certification may be deemed as more applicable because of the experienced professionals who have established the requirements.

You may be in a better position to receive third-party payment. Some states and federal health programs give third-party payment to nationally certified counselors.

Although you will initially be denied certification at the national level you can still apply for state certification if offered in your state or appeal the NBCC decision.

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Implications for FSU Students
The FSU M.S. in Counseling Psychology program offers course work in all eight of the core areas plus the Internship as required by the NBCC.

REQUIRED AREAS of Course Work as per the Maryland State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors:

OVERVIEW: The courses in each area listed below are only suggestions in meeting the educational areas. In many cases one course may not completely meet the total requirements for an instructional area. The burden of proof that a course meets any or all criteria in an area rests on the applicant. Documentation may include transcripts, published course descriptions, course syllabi, etc.

Candidates for certification must document at least 3 credits of course work in each of the following categories. One course will not be counted toward more than one category.


A. HUMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. The various stages of human growth and development over the life span
  2. Theories of human development
  3. Aspects of human development such as personality development, social development, learning
  4. How human development and experiences influence the development of psychopathology

Examples of courses in this area may include but are not limited to:

  • Human Growth and Development (PSYC 614)
  • Child Development (PSYC 614)
  • Adolescent Development (PSYC 614)
  • Adult Development (PSYC 614)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 617, 618)
  • Psychopathology (PSYC 617, 618)
  • Personality Theory (PSYC 617, 618)
  • Learning Theory (PSYC 585, PSYC 630)


B. SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FOUNDATIONS

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. Aging, ethnicity, gender issues, psycho-sexual orientation
  2. Impact of social and cultural norms
  3. Subculture and socioeconomic influences
  4. Cultural differences and influences on the counseling relationship

Examples of courses in this area may include but are not limited to:

  • Multicultural Counseling (PSYC 670)
  • Psychology of Women
  • Counseling the Aged
  • Counseling Special Populations (EDUC 523: AIDS-Information, Instruction, and Counseling)
  • Marriage and Family Counseling (PSYC 650)

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C. COUNSELING THEORY

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. Overview of major counseling/psychotherapy theories including but not limited to: a. Psychoanalytic, Adlerian, Jungian, Client Centered, Rational-Emotive, Object Relations, Behavior, Gestalt , and Reality
  2. Various techniques and practices associated with the above theories
  3. Methods of counseling

Examples of courses in this area may include but are not limited to:

  • Counseling Theory and Techniques (PSYC 630 and 640)
  • Theories of Counseling and/or Psychotherapy
  • Introduction to Psychotherapy Theories


D. COUNSELING TECHNIQUES

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. The parameters and limitations of the helping relationship
  2. The establishment of the client-counselor relationship
  3. Listening and interviewing skills
  4. The stages of counseling
  5. Referral and termination

Examples of course in this area may include but are limited to:

  • Helping Relationship
  • Introduction to Counseling (PSYC 510, 600)
  • Counseling Methods
  • Techniques of Interviewing

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E. GROUP DYNAMICS, PROCESSING, AND COUNSELING

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. Theories and practices of group counseling
  2. Principles of leading groups
  3. Experience and/or practice leading groups

Examples of courses in this area may include but are not limited to:

  • Group Counseling (PSYC 610)
  • Group Therapy
  • Group Dynamics
  • Group Process
  • Group Practice


F. LIFESTYLE AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. Life long processes that influence work values
  2. Occupational choice
  3. Creation of career patterns
  4. Career decision-making style
  5. Integration of occupational roles
  6. Career Identity
  7. Patterns of work adjustment

Examples of courses in this area include but are not limited to:

  • Career Guidance
  • Career Counseling
  • Career Development (PSYC 616, SCCO 608)
  • Career Information (PSYC 616, SCCO 608)
  • Occupational Information
  • Theories of Vocational Choice

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G. APPRAISAL OF INDIVIDUALS

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. Diagnosis and assessment utilizing current diagnostic manuals.
  2. Formalized testing and measurement such as standardized tests
  3. Informal assessment such as observations, interviews, rating scales
  4. Mental status exam
  5. Theory of test construction, validity, and reliability
  6. Testing procedures and interpretation

Examples of courses in this area may include but are not limited to:

  • Individual Appraisal (PSYC 660)
  • Individual Inventory
  • Psychological Testing
  • Personality Assessment
  • Psychological Measurement
  • Tests and Measurements (PSYC 508)
  • Psychopathology (PSYC 617, 618)


H. RESEARCH AND EVALUATION

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. Principles of performing quantitative and qualitative research
  2. Research design and methods
  3. Statistical tools and methods
  4. Reading and interpreting research

Examples of courses in this area may include but are not limited to:

  • Methods of Research
  • Statistics and data analysis
  • Research Design (PSYC 570)
  • Research in Counseling (PSYC 602)

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I. PROFESSIONAL, LEGAL, & ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. Professional orientation and responsibility
  2. Legal issues
  3. Ethics of practice
  4. Practice specialization
  5. Code of ethics of national, professional, counseling organizations

Examples of courses in this area may include but are not limited to:

  • Professional and Ethical Issues
  • Orientation to the Counseling Profession
  • Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling (PSYC 619)


J. SUPERVISED FIELD EXPERIENCE

Instruction in this area must include the following criteria:

  1. 1000 clock hours over a period of at least 9 months.
  2. Supervised practicum, internship, externship, or field experience
  3. Direct client contact in counseling experience

Examples of courses in this area may include but are not limited to:

  • Supervised Field Experience
  • Practicum
  • Internship/Externship (PSYC 695 and 696)
  • Clinical Field Experience
  • Clinical Case Conference or Supervision

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