Licensed Mental Health Counselor


Click on the appropriate tab below to see the Initial Licensing Requirements, Process, Fees, Statutes and Administrative Rules for a Mental Health Counselor.

To be licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in Florida you must have:

1. (a) Minimum of an earned master’s degree from a mental health counseling program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) that consists of at least 60 semester hours or 80 quarter hours of clinical and didactic instruction, including a course in human sexuality and a course in substance abuse. [Note: CACREP accredited programs that are not mental health counseling programs do not meet this requirement, i.e., community counseling, school counseling, counselor education.]

OR

(b) Minimum of an earned master’s degree from a program related to the practice of mental health counseling that consists of at least 60 semester hours or 80 quarter hours and meets the following requirements:

  • Minimum of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of graduate-level coursework in each of the following 12 content areas: counseling theories and practice, human growth and development, diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology, human sexuality, group theories and practice, individual evaluation and assessment, career and lifestyle assessment, research and program evaluation, social and cultural foundations, counseling in community settings, substance abuse, and legal, ethical, and professional standards issues. Courses in research, thesis or dissertation work, practicums, internships, or fieldwork may not be applied toward this requirement
  • The equivalent of at least 1,000 hours of university-sponsored supervised clinical practicum, internship, or field experience as required in the standards for CACREP accredited mental health counseling programs. This experience may not be used to satisfy the post-master’s clinical experience requirement

2. Two (2) years of post-master’s supervised experience under the supervision of licensed mental health counselor or the equivalent (64B4-31.007 F.A.C.) who is qualified as determined by the Board. The supervision experience must have consisted of at least 1,500 hours providing psychotherapy face-to-face with clients for the profession for which licensure is sought, and shall be accrued in no less than 100 weeks. At least 100 hours of supervision per 1,500 hours of psychotherapy face-to-face with clients provided by the intern; At least one (1) hour of supervision every two (2) weeks; at least one (1) hour of supervision per fifteen (15) hours of psychotherapy, with a minimum of one (1) hour of supervision every two (2) weeks. If the applicant obtained group supervision, each hour of group supervision must alternate with an hour of individual supervision. Individual supervision is defined as one supervisor supervising no more than two (2) interns and group supervision is defined as one supervisor supervising more than two (2) but a maximum of six (6) interns in the group

3. The applicant must pass the national clinical mental health counseling examination (NCMHCE) developed by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

4. Complete an eight-hour laws and rules course from an approved provider

5. Complete a two-hour prevention of medical errors course from an approved provider

6. Complete a three-hour course on human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome within six months of licensure

7. Complete a two hour domestic violence course from a board approved provider within six months of licensure

Provisional License

This license is available for licensure applicants who have already met the minimum requirement of 2 year’s of post-master’s supervised experience in another state but do not meet Florida’s licensure requirements.  It allows you to practice under supervision (defined as one hour per month by a LCSW, LMFT or LMHC) while you meet any additional licensure requirements such as masters level coursework (CSW applicants must have completed 15 semester or 22 quarter hours of coursework; MFT applicants must have completed 10 of the course content areas and 6 semester or 9 quarter hours must be in marriage and family systems, theories, or techniques, MHC applicants must have completed 7 of the course content areas one of which must be in psychopathology or abnormal psychology) CE coursework or passing the national exam.  The license is valid for 24 months and cannot be renewed.

Applicants with Health History

The Board reviews each applicant’s history to determine that the applicant is able to practice the profession with reasonable skill and competence. If you have a history of serious, chronic, or recent mental health problems or addiction to drugs, you must submit a current mental health status report. Mental health status reports must come from a licensed mental health professional, with which you have no personal or professional relationship.

The report should include: a description and summary of the diagnosis, onset, course of treatment, medications, inpatient treatments, outpatient treatments, group settings, factors which have triggered setbacks, compliance with treatment, prognosis, and recommendations for continued treatment.

Applicants with Discipline History

Applicants with prior disciplinary actions are required to submit the following:

Board Actions – Certified copies of document(s) relative to any disciplinary action taken against any license. The documents must come from the agency that took the disciplinary action and must be certified by that agency.

Self-Explanation -€“ A detailed description of the circumstances surrounding your disciplinary action and a thorough description of the rehabilitative changes in your lifestyle since the time of the disciplinary action which would enable you to avoid future occurrences. It would be helpful to include factors in your life, which you feel may have contributed to your disciplinary action, what you have learned about yourself since that time, and the changes you have made that support your rehabilitation.

Applicants with Criminal History

Applicants with prior criminal convictions are required to submit the following:

Final Dispositions/Arrest Records -€“ Final disposition records for offenses can be obtained at the clerk of the court in the arresting jurisdiction. If the records are not available, you must have a letter on court letterhead sent from the clerk of the court attesting to their unavailability.

Completion of Probation/Parole/Sanctions -€“ Probation and financial sanction records for offenses can be obtained at the clerk of the court in the arresting jurisdiction. Parole records for offenses can be obtained from the Department of Corrections or at the clerk of the court in the arresting jurisdiction. If the records are not available, you must have a letter on court letterhead sent from the clerk of the court attesting to their unavailability.

Self-Explanation -€“ Applicants who have listed offenses on the application must submit a letter in their own words describing the circumstances of the offense. Include in your letter the date of the original offense, the charge, and the jurisdiction where it occurred.

Health Care Fraud; Disqualifications for License, Certificate, or Registration

Effective July 1, 2012, Section 456.0635, Florida Statutes (F.S.), provides that health care boards or the department shall refuse to issue a license, certificate or registration and shall refuse to admit a candidate for examination if the applicant:

  1. Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony under Chapter 409, F.S., (relating to social and economic assistance), Chapter 817, F.S., (relating to fraudulent practices), Chapter 893, F.S., (relating to drug abuse prevention and control) or a similar felony offense(s) in another state or jurisdiction unless the candidate or applicant has successfully completed a drug court program for that felony and provides proof that the plea has been withdrawn or the charges have been dismissed. Any such conviction or plea shall exclude the applicant or candidate from licensure, examination, certification, or registration, unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or plea ended:
    1. For the felonies of the first or second degree, more than 15 years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
    2. For the felonies of the third degree, more than 10 years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
    3. For the felonies of the third degree under section 893.13(6)(a), F.S., more than five years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
  2. Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony under 21 U.S.C. ss. 801-970 (relating to controlled substances) or 42 U.S.C. ss. 1395-1396 (relating to public health, welfare, Medicare and Medicaid issues), unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or pleas ended more than 15 years prior to the date of the application;
  3. Has been terminated for cause from the Florida Medicaid program pursuant to section 409.913, F.S., unless the candidate or applicant has been in good standing with the Florida Medicaid program for the most recent five years;
  4. Has been terminated for cause, pursuant to the appeals procedures established by the state or Federal Government, from any other state Medicaid program, unless the candidate or applicant has been in good standing with a state Medicaid program for the most recent five years and the termination occurred at least 20 years before the date of the application;
  5. Is currently listed on the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s List of Excluded Individuals and Entities. The section above does not apply to candidates or applicants for initial licensure or certification who were enrolled in an educational or training program on or before July 1, 2009, which was recognized by a board or, if there is no board, recognized by the department, and who applied for licensure after July 1, 2012

Applying by Exam

The following steps apply to graduates of masters or doctoral level marriage and family therapy programs or programs in a closely related field that are REGIONALLY ACCREDITED who are applying by EXAM.  (Applying by EXAM is defined as an applicant who has completed a minimum of two years of post-master’s supervised experience; who has not been licensed or has been licensed for less than 3 years in another state). NOTE:  If you have passed the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHCE) you will not be required to take the exam again.

  1. You must first apply for full licensure by exam/endorsement
  2. You must be approved by the Board to apply for the provisional license
  3. Contact the board office for the provisional application
  4. Applicant must request an official transcript from their graduate program
  5. Applicant must request a practicum letter indicating they provided:  For graduates of a CACREP mental health counseling program, the letter must indicate you met the required CACREP practicum hours.  For graduates of a non-CACREP mental health counseling program or a program in a closely related field, the letter must indicate you met a minimum of a 1000 hour university-sponsored clinical practicum
  6. For graduates of a non-CACREP mental health counseling program or a program in a closely related field course descriptions or course syllabi if the courses listed on the transcript don’t indicate they meet the 3 semester or 4 quarter hour course in the 12 specific course content areas required for licensure in Florida.  For graduates of a CACREP mental health counseling program, you will need to provide course descriptions or course syllabi if the courses listed on the transcript don’t indicate you meet a 3 semester or 4 quarter hour course in (1) human sexuality and (2) substance abuse; required for licensure
  7. Applicant must request their supervisor/s complete a Supervised Experience Attestation Form.  (Form is found on this website or within the application packet and is required from each supervisor you had to complete the minimum 2 year and 1500 hours requirement)
  8. If licensed in another state, applicant will need to request a license verification from any state they have been licensed in; no matter the status

The following documents are required prior to licensure:

  1. Official transcript from your master’s degree
  2. Practicum letter
  3. Supervised experience attestation form/s
  4. License verification (if applicable)
  5. Official score report of passing the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam.  (Only required if you took the exam in another state but never became licensed
  6. Certificate of completion of an 8 hour laws and rules course completed through a board approved provider
  7. Certificate of completion a 2 hour prevention of medical errors course completed through a board approved provider

The following must be completed within 6 months of licensure:

  1. A 3 hour HIV/AIDS course completed through a board approved provider.  Certificate of completion is kept with your records
  2. A 2 hour domestic violence course completed through a board approved provider.  Certificate of completion is kept with your records

Applying by Endorsement

The following steps apply to graduates of masters or doctoral level mental health counseling programs or programs in a closely related field that are CACREP and/or REGIONALLY ACCREDITED who are applying by ENDORSEMENT.  (Applying by ENDORSEMENT is defined as an applicant who has an active license to practice mental health counseling in another state and has been practicing in that state for at least three of the last five years).

  1. Applicant must request an official transcript from their regionally accredited graduate program
  2. Applicant will need to request a license verification from any state they have been licensed in; no matter the status

The following documents are required prior to licensure:

  1. Official transcript from your master’s degree
  2. License verification/s
  3. Certificate of completion of an 8 hour laws and rules course completed through a board approved provider
  4. Certificate of completion a 2 hour prevention of medical errors course completed through a board approved provider

The following must be completed within 6 months of licensure:

  1. A 3 hour HIV/AIDS course completed through a board approved provider.  Certificate of completion is kept with your records
  2. A 2 hour domestic violence course completed through a board approved provider.  Certificate of completion is kept with your records

Provisional License

  • You must first apply for full licensure by exam/endorsement
  • You must be approved by the Board to apply for the provisional license
  • Contact the board office for the provisional application
Application Fee $100.00 (non-refundable)
Initial Licensure Fee $105.00
Total $205.00

Provisional Licensure Fee: $100.00

Please Note: The fee for a provisional license is separate from your licensure fee and must be submitted at the time of application.

Make checks or money orders payable to the “Department of Health.”

Click on Chapter or Section Number to View

Florida Statutes

Chapter 491: 491, Clinical, Counseling, and Pschotherapy Services
Chapter 456: Health Professions and Occupations: General Provisions
Chapter 120: Administrative Procedure Act
Chapter 39: Proceedings Related to Children
Chapter 90: Evidence Code
Chapter 394: Mental Health
Chapter 397: Substance Abuse Services
Chapter 415: Adult Protective Services

Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.)

Rules: Chapter 64B4, F.A.C.: Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy & Mental Health Counseling