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. OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: Complete the Education Worksheet for mental health counseling to determine if you have satisfied the coursework requirements for licensure. Transcripts must be sent in the official sealed envelope from the university or they will not be considered official.

(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. Ensure your program is accredited in mental health counseling by visiting https://www.cacrep.org/. 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; AND
  • 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. SUPERVISED EXPERIENCE: Two (2) years of post-master’s supervised experience under the supervision of a Board approved qualified supervisor. These hours must be documented on the Verification of Clinical Experience Form by the supervisor or they will not count towards licensure.

The supervision experience must have consisted of:

  • At least 100 hours of supervision in no less than 100 weeks;
  • 1,500 hours of face-to-face psychotherapy with clients; and,
  • 1 hour of supervision every two weeks

NOTE: Please see Rule 64B4-2.002, F.A.C. for information regarding group supervision and supervision by electronic methods

3. EXAM: Passed the national clinical mental health counseling examination (NCMHCE) developed by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). For information about the exam required, click here. Please do not contact the Board to schedule your exam as you do not need prior approval. You may schedule at any time by visiting http://www.nbcc.org/Search/StateBoardDirectory/fl.

4. LAWS & RULES COURSE: Completed an 8-hour Florida laws and rules course from a board approved provider listed on CE Broker.

5. HIV/AIDS COURSE: Completed a 3-hour HIV/AIDS course from a board approved provider listed on CE Broker or complete the HIV/AIDs Affidavit.

6. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURSE: Completed a 2-hour domestic violence course from a board approved provider listed on CE Broker within six months of licensure. The certificate of completion is retained with your records. Do not submit to the Board Office with your application.

7. LICENSE VERIFICATION: This for is required for applicants who hold or have ever held a license in another state, U.S. territory, or foreign country. Please have the office that issued the license or certification complete the Florida Certification/License Verification Form. A license verification is required for all endorsement applicants. To see more information on applying by examination and by endorsement, select the Process tab located above.

Provisional License

This license is valid for 24 months and cannot be renewed. It is available only 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 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.

FEE: $100.00 (non-refundable)

NOTE: Provisional licensure applications are only available upon request and will not be provided until an application by Endorsement/Exam has been received by the Board Office. To request an application, please contact the Board Office.

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.

To review the conviction record guidelines adopted by the Board, click here.

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 Examination

The following steps apply to graduates of masters or doctoral level mental counseling programs or programs related to the practice of mental health counseling from a REGIONALLY ACCREDITED institution 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. Apply for licensure by EXAMINATION. Ensure that all fields are completed as instructed. An incomplete application shall expire after one (1) year. To apply, click here.
  2. Request official transcript. Complete the Education Worksheet for mental health counseling to determine if you have satisfied the coursework requirements for licensure. Transcripts must be sent in the official sealed envelope from the university or they will not be considered official.
  3. Request practicum letter. This is required for non-CACREP applicants only. The letter must be on university letterhead and include the total number of hours completed, course titles and dates of practicum, internship, or field experience. An official of the school (Dean, Department Chair) that awarded your graduate degree must provide a letter on university letterhead verifying that the supervised practicum, internship, or field experience was completed. Please review the specific requirements on the Education Worksheet for mental health counseling.
  4. Submit Verification of Clinical Experience Form(s). The Verification of Clinical Experience Form is to be completed and signed by the applicant’s Qualified Supervisor. Submit only one (1) form per Qualified Supervisor.

    The supervision experience must have consisted of:

    • At least 100 hours of supervision in no less than 100 weeks;
    • 1,500 hours of face-to-face psychotherapy with clients; and,
    • 1 hour of supervision every two weeks

    NOTE: Please see Rule 64B4-2.002, F.A.C. for information regarding group supervision and supervision by electronic methods.

  5. Request NCMHCE official score report. This is only required for applicants who did not take the National Clinical Mental Health Examination (NCMHCE) examination as a Florida registered intern. Please contact the National Board of Certified Counselors NBCC to request an official score report be sent to the Board Office. NOTE: It may take up to four weeks for the Board Office to receive the official score report from the NBCC.
  6. Request Certification/License Verification. This is required for applicants who hold or have ever held a license in another state, U.S. territory, or foreign country; no matter the status. Please have the office that issued the license or certification complete the Florida Certification/License Verification Form.
  7. Complete 8-hour Laws & Rules course. Submit certificate of completion for an 8-hour Florida laws and rules course from a board approved provider listed on CE Broker to the Board Office.
  8. Complete 3-hour HIV/AIDs course. Submit certificate of completion for a 3-hour HIV/AIDS course to the Board Office from aboard approved provider listed on CE Broker or complete the HIV/AIDs Affidavit and submit to the Board Office.
  9. Complete 2-hour Domestic Violence course. Take a 2-hour domestic violence course from a board approved provider listed on CE Broker within six months of licensure. The certificate of completion is retained with your records. Do not submit to the Board Office with your application.

Application by EXAMINATION checklist:

  • Official transcript from your master’s degree
  • Practicum letter (if NON-CACREP)
  • Verification of Clinical Experience Form
  • Florida Certification/License Verification Form (if applicable)
  • Official score report of passing the clinical level of the NCMHCE exam. (Only required if you did not take the examination as a Florida registered intern.)
  • Certificate of completion of an 8-hour laws and rules course completed through a board approved provider listed on CE Broker.
  • Certificate of completion of a 3-hour HIV/AIDS course listed on CE Broker or complete the HIV/AIDs Affidavit.
  • Certificate of completion of a 2-hour domestic violence course from a board approved provider listed on CE Broker within six months of licensure. The certificate of completion is retained with your records. Do not submit to the Board Office with your application.

Applying by Endorsement

The following steps apply to graduates of masters or doctoral level mental counseling programs or programs related to the practice of mental health counseling from a REGIONALLY ACCREDITED institution 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.) NOTE: An endorsement applicant must meet the educational requirements and the examination requirements for licensure.

  1. Apply for licensure by ENDORSEMENT. Ensure that all fields are completed as instructed. An incomplete application shall expire after one (1) year. To apply, click here.
  2. Request official transcript. Complete the Education Worksheet for mental health counseling to determine if you have satisfied the coursework requirements for licensure. Transcripts must be sent in the official sealed envelope from the university or they will not be considered official.
  3. Request practicum letter. This is required for non-CACREP applicants only. The letter must be on university letterhead and include the total number of hours completed, course titles and dates of practicum, internship, or field experience. An official of the school (Dean, Department Chair) that awarded your graduate degree must provide a letter on university letterhead verifying that the supervised practicum, internship, or field experience was completed. Please review the specific requirements on the Education Worksheet for mental health counseling.
  4. Request NCMHCE official score report. Please contact the National Board of Certified Counselors NBCC to request an official score report be sent to the Board Office. NOTE: It may take up to four weeks for the Board Office to receive the official score report from the NBCC.
  5. Request Certification/License Verification: This for is required for applicants who hold or have ever held a license in another state, U.S. territory, or foreign country; no matter the status. Please have the office that issued the license or certification complete the Florida Certification/License Verification Form.
  6. Complete 8-hour Laws & Rules course. Submit certificate of completion for an 8-hour Florida laws and rules course from a board approved provider listed on CE Broker to the Board Office.
  7. Complete 3-hour HIV/AIDs course. Submit certificate of completion for a 3-hour HIV/AIDS course to the Board Office from aboard approved provider listed on CE Broker or complete the HIV/AIDs Affidavit and submit to the Board Office.
  8. Complete 2-hour Domestic Violence course. Take a 2-hour domestic violence course from a board approved provider listed on CE Broker within six months of licensure. The certificate of completion is retained with your records. Do not submit to the Board Office with your application.

Application by ENDORSEMENT checklist:

  • Official transcript from your master’s degree
  • Practicum letter (if NON-CACREP)
  • Florida Certification/License Verification Form
  • Official score report of passing the clinical level of the NCMHCE exam.
  • Certificate of completion of an 8-hour laws and rules course completed through a board approved provider listed on CE Broker.
  • Certificate of completion of a 3-hour HIV/AIDS course listed on CE Broker or complete the HIV/AIDs Affidavit.
  • Certificate of completion of a 2-hour domestic violence course from a board approved provider listed on CE Broker within six months of licensure. The certificate of completion is retained with your records. Do not submit to the Board Office with your application.
Application Fee$100.00 (non-refundable)
Initial Licensure Fee$75.00
Unlicensed Activity Fee$5.00
Total$180.00

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 Psychotherapy 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