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 the documents listed below. Endorsement applicants should only submit items 3 through 7.

1. OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: Minimum of an earned master’s degree from a regionally accredited program in mental health counseling or a closely related field that consists of at least 60 semester hours or 80 quarter hours.

NOTE: Transcripts must be sent in a sealed envelope from the university or they will not be considered official. A degree conferred date must be listed on the transcript. This document CANNOT be uploaded in your online account. Official transcripts may be mailed to:

Florida Department of Health
Board of CSW, MFT, and MHC
4052 Bald Cypress Way
Bin C-08
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3258

Electronic Transcripts may be sent through a secure parchment service directly to MQA.491@flhealth.gov. Please check with your university to see if this service is available.

(a) CACREP

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 the courses listed below.

NOTE: CACREP accredited programs that are non-mental health counseling programs do not meet this requirement, i.e., community counseling, school counseling, counselor education. Ensure your program is accredited in mental health counseling by visiting https://www.cacrep.org/.

  • COURSEWORK- Minimum of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of graduate-level coursework in each of the following:
    1) Human Sexuality
    2) Substance Abuse

Complete the Education Worksheet for mental health counseling to determine if you have satisfied the coursework requirements for licensure.

If the course title which appears on the applicant’s transcript does not clearly identify the content of the coursework, the applicant shall be required to provide additional documentation, including, but not limited to, a syllabus or catalog description published for the course.

  • PRACTICUM- A practicum letter is not required from CACREP mental health counseling programs.

OR

(b) NON-CACREP

Minimum of an earned master’s degree from a regionally accredited 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:

  • COURSEWORK- Minimum of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of graduate-level coursework in each of the following 12 content areas:
    (1) Counseling Theories and Practice,
    (2) Human Growth and Development,
    (3) Diagnosis and Treatment of Psychopathology,
    (4) Human Sexuality,
    (5) Group Theories and Practice,
    (6) Individual Evaluation and Assessment,
    (7) Career and Lifestyle Assessment,
    (8) Research and Program Evaluation,
    (9) Social and Cultural Foundations,
    (10) Substance Abuse, and
    (11) Legal, Ethical, and Professional Standards Issues.

Courses in research, thesis or dissertation work, practicums, internships, or fieldwork are not applied toward this requirement. Complete the Education Worksheet for mental health counseling to determine if you have satisfied the coursework requirements for licensure.

If the course title which appears on the applicant’s transcript does not clearly identify the content of the coursework, the applicant shall be required to provide additional documentation, including, but not limited to, a syllabus or catalog description published for the course.

  • PRACTICUM- The equivalent of at least 700 hours of university-sponsored supervised clinical practicum, internship, or field experience that includes at least 280 hours of direct client services as required in the standards for CACREP accredited mental health counseling programs. An official of the school (Dean, Department Chair) that awarded your graduate degree must provide a letter on university letterhead verifying the course title and total number of hours completed during the supervised practicum, internship, or field experience. This experience may not be used to satisfy the post-master’s clinical experience requirement.

FOREIGN EDUCATION

For the Board to consider education completed outside the U.S. or Canada, documentation must be received which verifies the institution at which the education was completed was equivalent to a regionally accredited U.S. institution and the coursework met the content and credit hour requirement for graduate level coursework in the U.S. It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain an evaluation from a recognized foreign equivalency determination service that documents the acceptability of the coursework. The board office must receive an original evaluation mailed directly from the educational evaluation service. For a list of approved Foreign Education Evaluators, please click here.

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. LICENSE VERIFICATION: This 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. The document must show your license type, issued dated, current status and discipline history.

4. 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.

FOR ENDORSEMENT APPLICANTS ONLY: If you have passed the NCE prior to July 2000, you are exempt from taking the NCMHCE.

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

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

7. 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.

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
  • Within 30 days of submitting your application and fee for licensure, you will receive a written review of your application and supporting documents from the Board Office staff. This review will be sent to your email, if listed on the application, or to your mailing address on record. If your application is missing items, you will receive a deficiency letter. If your application was submitted with all requirements and you meet the qualifications, you will receive an approval letter.
  • Your application will not be processed until we have received a complete application and fee. All fields on the application including Social Security Number, Date of Birth, E-Mail Address, Practice Location and Mailing Address should be completed prior to submitting your application.
  • Upon submitting your application, you will be issued a file number to help track and reference your documents through the process. This number will not be the same as your license number and should not be used as such.
  • Please understand that Chapter 456.013(1)(a), Florida Statutes, provides that an incomplete application shall expire one year after initial filing with the department.

 

For the most expedited process, submit your application in 3 simple steps:

1. PREPARE YOUR SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS:

  • Official transcript from your master’s or doctoral degree program (Exam Applicants ONLY)
  • Verification of Clinical Experience Form
  • License Verification or 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 Brokerwithin six months of licensure. The certificate of completion is retained with your records. Do not submit to the Board Office with your application.

2. APPLY AND PAY THE REQUIRED FEE:
Visit https://floridasmentalhealthprofessions.gov/licensing/ and choose your profession. Then click “Apply Online” or print the PDF version of the application.  Applications are not processed until the required payment has been received.

a. SUBMIT YOUR SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

There are several ways to submit supporting documents.

Please allow 7-10 business days to process any supporting documents.

 

Documents to Send Directly to the Board OfficeDocuments to Upload
·         Official Transcript

·         License Verification

·         Exam Score

·         Verification of Clinical Experience Form

·         Practicum Letter

·         8-hour laws and rules

·         3-hour HIV/AIDS

·         2-hour domestic violence course

3. RECEIVE DEFICIENCY LETTER OR APPROVAL LETTER

  • Deficiency Letter – Applicants will receive an application review in the form of a deficiency letter outlining the missing items required. They should submit these missing items as soon as possible. An incomplete application shall expire after 1 year. Incomplete applications will delay the licensure process.
  • Approval Letter-Applicants will receive an application review in the form of a letter of approval including license number and additional information regarding their registered internship license. To expedite your application, make sure to submit a complete application.

You can now follow the progress of your application through our website at: https://mqa-vo.doh.state.fl.us/datamart/voservicesportal. If you did not apply for licensure through this screen, please click on “Click HERE for New User Registration” and create an account. You must have a valid email address to create your account. 

Once you are logged in, you will be prompted to link your application to your account in four easy steps. Once you have successfully linked your application, you will be directed to the Quick Start Menu. Under the “Additional Activities” section, select “Application Status” to review any open deficiencies, upload documents or print out instructional documents.

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.”

If you are mailing just a payment, please include your name, profession, and file number. All payments must be mailed to:

Department of Health
Board of Mental Health Professions
P.O. Box 6330
Tallahassee, FL 32314-6330

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