Laws and Rules in State Licensing and or Certification Essay

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Describe the criteria and standards for becoming a licensed professional counselor in your state of proposed practice. Include educational and experiential requirements for licensure, and the scope of practice for the selected state of practice.

In the state of Florida an individual will need to earn a graduate degree from a program that has been accredited by CACREP. It must be a mental health counseling degree, as opposed to another specialty. In addition to core content areas, it should include courses in substance abuse and human sexuality.

There are many universities and institutions that offer CACREP accreditation such as Capella and Walden. Capella University, offers three online CACREP- accredited master's in counseling programs. These programs included Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, and School Counseling. In addition, Walden University offers one of the only CACREP-accredited online M.S. In Mental Health Counseling degrees in the country (Patel, 2010).

In the state of Florida, individuals can still meet CACREP requirements by meeting certain criteria in regards to their overall education experience. If the individuals program is not properly accredited, it must be 60 semester hours long. In addition the course work must include semester hours in each of the following disciplines enumerated below

Counseling theories

Human growth and development

Group theories and practice

Human sexuality

Psychopathology diagnosis and treatment

Career and lifestyle

Individual assessment and evaluation

Research and program evaluation

Substance abuse

Counseling in community settings

Legalities, ethics, and professional standards

Cultural and social foundations

In regards to experience, potential candidates must do at least 1,000 hours of practicum or internship work through a university or college. The practicum must include at least 280 hours of direct counseling practice, with at least an hour a week of individual supervision. The program must include a formal evaluation process to ensure the viability of the work experience. Mental Health Counseling is somewhat different in the state of Florida. The main difference is that before an individual can achieve credentialing as a licensed mental health counselor, they must work under supervision for two years. The candidate must do at least 1,000 hours of face-to-face client work during this supervised practice (Myers, 2000).

Once the entire process listed above is complete, the candidate must send in an application. In the application, the individual must document both educational and professional history while answering questions about ethics and professional fitness. The application must also include important health history. Instances of recent or chronic mental illness must be accompanied by a status report from a mental health professional. In the state of Florida the application fee is $150. Transcripts must also be delivered to the board upon completion of all requirements listed above. If the individual candidates program wasn't CACREP-accredited, the individual must include verification that they have completed a practicum that met CACREP standards. These standards as mentioned above include predetermined intern and practicum hours.

Distinguish between licensure, certification, and accreditation


A registered counselor or licensed practical counselor is an individual who has passed rigorous testing that validates he/she has acquired the basic knowledge required for safe practice. Licensure does not purport to do more than that. The philosophy of the licensure and validation of proficiency is what ultimately protects the client, and public from abuse of malpractice. This testing aims to eliminate those not qualified for minimal safe performance. However, a draw back, even though the test is scored, does not recognized exceptional performance. The licensure process is used primarily as a method of distinguishing those who do not qualify with those that do.

A counselor must be licensed in the state of Florida in order to work as a counselor. The exams for these two levels are separate and distinct, as are the qualifications that must be completed before a candidate sit for the test. Licensure in general is a granted to the states, not the federal government. Of course, nursing has conveniently gotten around this fact by, among other things, creating the National Board of Certified Counselors. This body has allowed for national uniformity in testing and related criteria between and among all states. This has allowed counselors moving from state to be able to better pass exams administered in a particular state. Other professions have very disparate and often confusing terms when leaving a particular state.


Counseling certification mush like the licensure process mentioned earlier, involves individual testing. The difference is in this instance certification testifies to a status achieved by a counselor in given specialty. When licensure is focused on minimal performance and eliminating those who don't meet it, certification is oriented toward special competence in a particular field.

Another difference between licensure and certification is that the individual can decide whether or not to take a certification exam. Almost all graduates of counseling master's specialty programs (especially practitioner programs), desire the status afforded by certification. Although many jobs may only be open to counselors holding desired certifications, the certification process is voluntary.

Certification programs in nursing have grown dramatically as the entire field has fragmented. The certificate has become very important but it is more likely to be combined with higher education than substituted for the lack thereof. Most major certification programs today require graduation from a related academic master's level program before allowing the candidate to sit for the certification examination. Many certifications involve "broad" specialties, in unique and diverse areas of counseling. Other certificate programs are very narrow, and involve a very intense focus on a particular aspect of counseling. The masters program often precludes the scope of the certification


Accreditation, unlike the testing in licensure and certification, evaluates and judges institutions rather than individuals. Most accreditation programs testify to the institution's achievement, rather than merely guaranteeing safety. This is important as accreditation verifies that the institution itself is viable and trustworthy. Most counseling master's education programs will not admit a counselor who graduated from an unaccredited program, even if the program was licensed by the state.

Specifically describe the Ethical Code of Conduct or Professional Standards used for licensed professional counselors in your state of proposed practice.

The Florida Certification Board provides certification for substance abuse counselors, prevention specialists, behavioral health technicians, and criminal justice professionals in the State of Florida. The purpose of the FCB's certification process is to assure consumers, the public, and employers that individuals certified by FCB are capable and competent, in regards to their experience and practice.

The code of ethics is distinguished by five main categories consisting of professional standards, unlawful conduct, and exploitation of consumers, sexual misconduct, and safety. Each category provides detailed accounts of standards that must be adhered to by all practicing counselors. In addition, the code also provides a means of rectification once an offense has been committed. This is important, as the code allows individuals to make unintended mistakes while punishing those who intentionally commit egregious unethical action (Richards, 2010).

Describe the concept of core provider status and the implications of this concept to accessibility to and funding for mental health services.

Core provider agreement allows medical assistance to those who meet predetermined requirements. For example, The Department of Social and Health Services administer medical assistance and medical care programs for eligible clients. The department provides medical assistance and medical care to certain eligible clients by enrolling eligible providers of medical services. The department them reimburses enrolled providers for services, supplies, and equipment. This program in many instances is complicated and could potential invite fraud. For instance providers can overly inflate the cost of services rendered or supplies used. In addition, there is incentive to "waste" material in order to reap bigger rewards in reimbursement. Changes have been recently made to mitigate many of these circumstances.

For instance, providers enrolled in the core provider status program, must now keep complete and accurate medical and fiscal records that fully justify and disclose the extent of costs. In addition, periodic audits are administered to ensure the compliance and the accuracy of records.

Ultimately, the consumer benefits as they now have access to treatments and services they may not have otherwise garnered. In addition, the cost of these services due to competition could potentially decline as providers now have incentive to reduce overhead and wasteful costs (Kitchener, 2002).

Describe public policies that would impact the quality and accessibility of mental health services. Include the concept of advocacy in your response.

As mentioned above, costs is the primary public issue plaguing the quality and accessibility of mental health services? Rising cost, in some of the more pervasive services provides a hindrance to mental health accessibility. In addition, middle class incomes are actually shrinking when adjusted for inflation. As such, consumer must now contend with smaller earnings and growing prices. This reduces accessibility as the costs, even with aid, becomes too high for the average consumer.

In regards to quality, mental health services have a strong accreditation, licensure, and certification process. All three require substantial practice, experience, and verification. This bodes well for the overall quality of…[continue]

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