How to Become a Clinically Licensed Counselor in New Jersey

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Becoming a professional, clinically licensed counselor is a great career choice for those who have a passion for helping others. Professional counselors must: have great listening skills, be committed to learning and growing in the field of behavioral health, and have an ability to be non-biased/judgmental. Becoming licensed allows the individual to be recognized by his or her State as a professional who has undergone strict requirements to practice counseling. This article will give you a brief overview of the requirements for attaining a license to provide counseling in New Jersey.

The first step on the road to obtaining licensure in counseling is obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.  It is not always required to major in a human service field of study at the Bachelor’s level; however, it is important to maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 to be sure you have a strong opportunity at being accepted into a Master’s program.  Secondly, enroll into an accredited university to obtain a Master’s degree.  Required fields of study for obtaining a licensure as a Professional Counselor are: Counseling, Psychology, Marriage and Family therapy, etc.  It is important the program is accredited by CACREP.  If it is not, you may still attend, however you will need to check with your State’s licensing board to be sure the coursework offered in the program is in congruence with the requirements for licensure.  You can find this information and licensing application at the NJ Board of Marriage and Family Therapy .

For individuals with busy schedules, Capella University provides three online Master’s programs that are CACREP accredited: Marriage and Family Therapy, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and School Counseling. You can visit their website to learn more about this institution and the programs they offer.  Another university to consider is Walden University. They also have an online, CACREP accredited, Master’s program in Mental Health Counseling.   There are many institutions to assist you with a sound education which would prepare you for a career in counseling.  Be sure to research many institutions to find the best fit for you.

After receiving a Master’s degree in counseling or related field, you must provide two years of supervised counseling experience.  It is recommended to submit to the Board an application to obtain a temporary permit to practice.  This application allows the Board to review your education, credentials and proposed work experience beforehand.   While this is not necessary, it will prevent challenges with the Board accepting your experience or coursework at the time the licensure application is submitted.

Lastly, you must take and pass a compulsory licensing exam. If you wish to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) you must take the National Counselors Exam.   If you wish to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), you must pass the national licensing exam, which is administered by the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (A.M.F.T.R.B.). The Board will inform you of your eligibility to sit for the exam when your application is processed.

All counselors at Child and Family Solutions are not only licensed by the State of New Jersey, they are committed to the art of counseling, improving the lives of others, and have over 3 years of experience providing licensed counseling.

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Receiving services in my home was a godsend. My ex husband and I went through a divorce last August and my son became depressed and refused to go outside for weeks. The counselor we worked with was very knowledgeable and skilled. My son is now back to doing his regular activities and enjoying his life. Thanks Child and Family Solutions.

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