Alaska State Licensing Requirements

licensing-alaskaAlaska is a great place to practice therapy, professional counseling, psychology or social work. But what degree will you need to legally practice here, and what are the requirements to get licensed in the different helping professions?

Licensure protects the public from the unregulated practice of psychology and related fields. By requiring practitioners to get licensed, Alaska seeks to set high standards of education, training and experience for people wanting to join the helping professions.

If you want to get the education, training and skills to help people cope with life issues (such as depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder [SAD] and substance abuse), overcome mental-health problems, and generally improve the quality of their lives, = learn about getting licensed in the following professions.

Licensure to Practice in Alaska

Licensing is a required step before you can legally practice social work, psychology, therapy or professional counseling.

Once you’ve earned your degree, you’ll need to pass a state and/or national exam and meet other licensing requirements in your particular field. Here are some of the requirements to practice in the following fields, according to the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development: Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing (or other regulatory bodies). Make sure to consult the appropriate regulatory entity to review the complete and most up-to-date requirements.

Psychologist

  • Get a doctoral degree in psychology from a program from an accredited program
  • Post-Doctoral Supervised Experience: 1,500 hours of actual work experience completed within 10 and 24 months; at least half of the supervised experience must be in face-to-face contact with patients, and at least 80% must be supervised by a licensed psychologist
  • A passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
  • A passing score on the written State Law and Ethics Examination

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in counseling from an accredited program
  • 3,000 hours of post-graduation supervised experience in the practice of professional counseling over a period of at least two years under the supervision of an approved supervisor. This must include at least 1,000 hours of direct counseling with individuals, couples, families or groups and at least 100 hours of face-to-face supervision.
  • Passing grade on the National Board for Certified Counselor’s National Counselor Examination (NCE)

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in marital and family therapy or an allied mental health field from a regionally accredited school
  • 1,500 hours of direct clinical contact with couples and families, with supervision for a minimum of 200 hours, including 100 individual and 100 group hours
  • A passing grade on the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB)
  • A passing grade on a written examination covering questions about Alaska state statutes and regulations applying to the practice of marital and family therapy and the code of ethics

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

  • Earn a master’s or doctoral degree in social work from a college or university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised social work experience in not less than two years
  • Get a passing score on the national exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)

Making the Most of Your Degree

Once you know which of these fields you want to pursue and you’ve begun your graduate studies, it might be helpful to look into professional associations that accept students. Membership in organizations such as the Alaska Division of the Marriage and Family Therapy Association offers great benefits:

  • Access to job databases and community resources
  • Forums for interacting with peers and experts in your field
  • Information about legislation that affects your work, and lobbying efforts to protect your professional interests
  • Consultation with advocates in your profession regarding legal and ethical issues

So which career is right for you: psychologist, counselor, therapist or social worker? Start early and research your licensure requirements and degree options to make sure that you’ll be efficient in your studies, won’t have any licensing problems, and can get into the right helping profession for you.

Sources: www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing, www.alaskamft.weebly.com/how-to-become-a-mft.html

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