Connecticut is known for its picturesque seaside cities, quaint rural communities, and prestigious universities. Located in between the major cities of New York and Boston, the Constitution State can be a great place to earn your education and build your career.
But before you can begin work as a psychologist, counselor, therapist, or social worker in the state, you’ll need to meet Connecticut’s specific requirements for licensing. What does that entail for each profession? Read on to learn what you can expect as you prepare for a role in these rewarding fields.
Psychology Licensure in Connecticut
Psychologists in Connecticut are licensed by the Department of Public Health, and you’ll need to be licensed before you can legally practice in the state. The board lays out the standards for education, testing, and experience that every aspiring psychologist needs to meet.
The first step toward your psychology license is earning a bachelor’s degree. Many students choose to earn their degree in psychology, but you can also get your education in a related field, such as social work, human services, or sociology. You then have 2 choices after earning your bachelor’s degree, but both will ultimately lead to a doctoral degree in psychology.
- You can enter a master’s-level program in psychology and then apply to a doctoral program once you’ve earned that degree. You might be able to apply some credits from your master’s toward your doctorate, allowing you to fast track your degree.
- You can apply directly to a doctoral program that accepts bachelor’s-level students. You’ll complete your master’s degree coursework as simultaneously work toward your doctoral degree.
No matter which route you choose, your program must be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).Students with degrees from non-accredited programs might not be eligible for licensure and may be required to take additional courses from an APA-accredited program.
PhD vs. PsyD
Your doctorate can either be a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. Either of these can prepare you for licensing and finding similar roles within the field. Generally, PhD degrees are focused more on research, theory, and broad applications, while PsyD degrees emphasize diagnosis, treatment methods, and other clinical interactions directly with patients.
Psychology licensing requirements
After you complete your doctoral degree, you’ll need to take additional steps before you can apply for your license.
Connecticut requires you to complete at least 1 year of supervised work experience. This can be before or after you graduate, but hours completed as part of an internship that’s required by your doctoral program cannot be used. The experience must also be no less than 35 hours per week. It must be for a minimum of 46 weeks within 12 consecutive months or no less than 1,800 hours over 24 months.
Additionally, your experience needs to be supervised by a fully licensed psychologist with at least 3 hours of direct supervision for every 40 hours you work.
You’ll have 2 years after completing your work experience to take and pass the exams required by the state. Connecticut asks aspiring psychologists to take 2 exams:
- The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB): You’ll need to score at least a 500 out of 800 in order to pass.
- The Connecticut jurisprudence exam specific to the laws of the state: You must earn at least 18 out of 25 in order to pass.
Once you pass your exams, you can submit your application materials to the board. You’ll need to provide:
- Official transcripts
- Documentation of your work experience from your supervisor
- Test scores
- Verification of any licenses you currently hold
- An application fee
Your license will also need to be renewed every year, and you’ll need to complete 10 hours of continuing education during each renewal period.
Connecticut grants licensure to out-of-state applicants who hold a Certificate of Professional Qualification from the ASPPB. Before you can practice in the state, you’ll need to have the certificate sent directly to the board, and you’ll need to take and pass the Connecticut jurisprudence exam.
Professional Counseling Licensure in Connecticut
Professional counselors work with people on everyday issues such as job stress or dealing with trauma and loss. They might work in private practice or as part of a counseling group. The Connecticut Department of Public Health grants licensure to professional counselors who have completed specific education, testing, and experience requirements.
You’ll need to earn at least a master’s degree before you can apply to be a licensed professional counselor. Your master’s degree must be from an accredited school, and can be in any of the following areas:
- Social work
- Marriage and family therapy
- A related mental health field
No matter the degree type, you’ll need to complete at least 60 graduate-level semester hours dedicated to:
- Social and cultural foundations
- Human growth and development
- Counseling theories and techniques
- Group dynamics
- Processing and counseling
- Career and lifestyle development
- Research and evaluation
- Conducting group and individual testing
- Professional standards
If your degree does not match these requirements, you might need to take additional coursework before being eligible for licensure.
Counseling licensing requirements
You’ll need to meet the state’s experience requirements after completing your degree. Connecticut requires that you complete 3,000 hours of supervised postgraduate work experience. This must include 100 hours of direct supervision from a fully licensed professional who’s been approved by the board.
To earn your license in Connecticut, you 2 choices of exams:
- The National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)
- The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)
Both exams are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
After your exam, you can submit your application to the board. Your application will include your transcripts, test scores, and verification of your work hours.
Your counseling license will expire every year. In order to renew, you’ll need complete at least 15 hours of continuing education credits and submit proof to the board along with your renewal application.
Out-of-state applicants who have worked as professional counselors or who hold an equivalent license might be eligible for reciprocity in Connecticut. You’ll need to submit proof of your education, license, and at least 3 years of work experience as a professional counselor before you can become fully licensed.
Marriage & Family Therapy Licensure
Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are professionals who work with couples or families to resolve issues or promote healthy communication. Like psychologists and counselors, MFTs are licensed by the Connecticut Department of Public health. If you want to work as an MFT in the state, you’ll need to make sure you follow the board’s requirements.
You’ll need at least a master’s degree to work as a marriage and family therapist. Your degree needs to be from a program that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and approved by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AAMFT). Also acceptable are regionally accredited institutions with programs that meet the MFT licensure requirements.
Your degree must include a practicum or internship of at least 500 direct clinical hours, with 100 of those hours being supervised by a licensed professional.
Marriage and family therapist licensing requirements
You’ll need to complete supervised work experience after earning your degree. Connecticut requires that your experience meets the following requirements:
- It must be 12 months in length
- It must include at least 1,000 direct client contact hours providing marriage and family therapy
- At least 100 hours must be directly supervised by a licensed MFT
- At least 50 of those 100 hours must be individual supervision
Once you complete your experience, you’ll have 2 years to take and pass the required exam. Connecticut makes use of the nationally recognized Examination in Marital and Family Therapy offered by the AAMFT. After taking the exam, you can apply for full MFT licensure.
You’ll be asked to submit your test scores, proof of your degree, and verification of your work hours. If your degree is from a school that has not been approved by AAMFT, you’ll need to submit detailed information about your coursework and have it approved by the board.
Your MFT license will need to be renewed every year. To do so, you must complete at least 15 continuing education hours during each renewal cycle.
Connecticut grants license reciprocity to MFTs who are licensed in other states. You’ll need to submit proof you’ve taken the AAMFT exam, proof of your education, and documentation showing that you’ve met the required work experience.
Social Work Licensure in Connecticut
There are currently almost 10,000 social workers licensed in the state of Connecticut, working in hospitals, schools, nursing facilities, community centers, and private practices. Like most states, Connecticut has its own rules for social work licensure. You can be licensed at either state’s 2 recognized levels—licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) or master’s-level social worker (LMSW).
LCSW vs. LMSW: what’s the difference?
You might see social workers referred to by a variety of titles depending on the state, and these are decided by the level of education and experience a social worker has. Some states license up to 5 levels of social workers, while others, like Connecticut, only license 2. There are different experience and exam requirements for each level.
No matter which license you hold, you’ll need to hold at least a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. Your MSW needs to be from a school that’s accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and your program must include fieldwork and an internship.
Social work licensing requirements
You can apply for licensure as an LMSW after you complete your master’s degree. You’ll need to take and pass the master’s-level exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and submit an application.
As an LMSW, you’ll be required to work under the supervision of an LCSW or another licensed physician. At this level, you can’t open a private practice or take on certain leadership roles, however, you can begin earning the hours you need to take the next step in licensing.
LCSW licensing requirements
Earning your title as an LCSW requires experience on top of your master’s degree. You’ll need to complete 3,000 postgraduate supervised hours, with 100 of those hours under the direct supervision of an LCSW. Your employer will need to submit verification of your hours to the state.
You can apply to take the ASWB clinical-level exam once your hours are complete. Passing the exam makes you eligible to practice independently as a licensed clinical social worker.
Both LCSWs and LMSWs need to complete 15 hours of continuing education every year for license renewal. Your continuing education hours must be from providers approved by CSWE, ASWB, or by the National Association of Social Workers.
For social workers who have earned their master’s- or clinical-level licenses in other states, Connecticut grants reciprocity on a case-by-case basis. You’ll need to submit your application to the board and provide detailed information on your education and experience, along with copies of your score on the appropriate ASWB exam.
You won’t be granted reciprocity if you have outstanding complaints against your license in your home state.