Hawaii State Licensing Requirements

licensing-hawaiiIf you live in Hawaii or plan to relocate to practice psychology or social work in the state, what degree should you pursue, and what do you need to do to be licensed to practice in the helping professions?

If you would like to get the training and skills to help people cope with life issues, overcome mental-health problems, and just generally improve the quality of their lives, keep reading to learn about going to psychology school in Hawaii.

Getting Licensed to Practice in Hawaii

Licensing is an important step before you can become a practicing social worker, psychologist, therapist or counselor.

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 of study. Here are some of the requirements to practice in the following fields, according to the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional & Vocational Licensing (PVL). Make sure to consult the PVL to find up-to-date requirements.


  • Doctoral degree in psychology from a university that is either accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or housed in a regionally accredited institution and in alignment with the Board’s educational standards
  • 1,900 hours of post-graduate supervised practice
  • Passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)

Mental Health Counselor

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in mental-health counseling or an allied field related to it from an accredited institution
  • Practicum Experience: Two academic terms or more of supervised mental health practicum intern experience of at least three graduate semester hours, or five graduate quarter hours per academic term in a mental health counseling setting, with a minimum of 300 hours of supervised client contact.
  • Post-Graduate Experience: 3,000 hours of post-graduate experience in the practice of mental health counseling with 100 hours of face-to-face clinical supervision completed at least two years and in no more than four years
  • Passing score on the national counselor examination (NCE)

Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFP)

  • Master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited educational institution in marriage and family therapy or an allied field related to the practice of mental health counseling
  • Complete a one-year practicum within the master’s or doctoral degree program, with at least 300 supervised client contact hours
  • Post-Master’s Experience: Two years and 1,000 hours of direct marriage and family therapy experience AND 200 hours of clinical supervision
  • A passing grade on the National Marital and Family Therapy (NMFT) Exam

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

To become a licensed clinical social worker, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Master’s degree or higher in social work from a CSWE-accredited program
  • Pass the clinical-level national exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
  • Successfully complete at least 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised clinical social work experience in an agency setting, OR…
  • Possess a qualified clinical social worker (QCSW) or a diplomate in clinical social work (DCSW) credential issued by the NASW; or a board certified diplomate (BCD) credential issued by the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work (ABE)

Making the Most of Your Degree

Once you’re enrolled in the right program for you, you may want to learn about the professional associations that accept students. Membership in organizations such as the Hawaii Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers offers great benefits:

  • Access to job databases and community resources
  • Information about legislation that affects your work, and what you can do in response to new laws that affect your specialty area
  • Forums for interacting with peers and experts in your field
  • Consultation with advocates in your profession regarding legal and ethical issues

So which field of psychology is right for you: counselor, therapist, social worker or psychologist? Make sure you get off on the right foot, and research your degree options and licensure requirements early to ensure that you’ll be efficient in your studies and can get into the right helping profession for you.

Source: www.cca.hawaii.gov/pvl


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