Delaware State Licensing Requirements

licensing-delawareDelaware is a great place to study to become a psychologist, social worker, therapist or professional counselor. But what degree will you need to legally practice, and what are the requirements to get licensed in the helping professions?

If you want to get the education, training and skills to help people cope with life issues (such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse), overcome mental health problems, and generally improve the quality of their lives, keep reading to learn about getting licensed in Delaware.

Licensure to Practice in Delaware

Licensing is a mandatory 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 Delaware Department of State, Division of Professional Regulation and other regulatory bodies. Make sure to consult the appropriate regulatory entity to review the complete and most up-to-date requirements.

Psychologist

  • Get a doctorate in psychology from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA); some other programs may be accepted
  • Post-doctoral supervised experience in psychology of 1,500 hours
  • Get a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)

Mental Health Counselor (MHC)

  • Master’s degree or higher in counseling from an accredited institution of higher education
  • 3,200 hours of supervised post-masters mental health counseling experience; if you have 30 post-master’s credits in the field of counseling, the Board may accept these credits for up to 1,600 of the 3,200 hours of post-master’s mental health counseling experience
  • Passing grade on the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam distributed by the National Board of Certified Counselors; other exams may be acceptable

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)

  • Master’s degree or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from an accredited program
  • Post-Masters Marriage and Family Counseling Supervised Experience: 1,600 hours in at least two years of supervised experience in the practice of marriage and family therapy
  • A passing grade on the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB)

Social Worker

  • Earn a master’s degree or doctorate from a school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Two years of clinical social work experience acceptable to the Board. The clinical social work experience shall consist of not less than 3,200 hours, at least 1,600 hours of which shall have been under professional supervision acceptable to the Board
  • 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 go into and you’ve begun your graduate studies, it would be helpful to look into professional associations that accept students. Membership in organizations such as the Delaware Psychological 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.dpr.delaware.gov/boards/psychology/newlicense.shtml, www.dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/newlicense.shtml, www.dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/marriage_newlicense.shtml, http://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/socialworkers/index.shtml

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