Illinois State Licensing Requirements

licensing-illinoisIf you’re considering a career as a social worker, therapist, counselor or psychologist the state of Illinois offers many opportunities for your practice. But 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 Illinois.

Getting Licensed to Practice in Illinois

Once you’ve earned your psychology 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 Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. Make sure to check the IL DFPR website for a full list of requirements.


  • Doctoral degree in psychology
  • One-year residence during doctoral work (at least 350 hours of student-faculty contact)
  • Supervised two-year clinical, school or counseling psychology experience (one must be an internship; the other a postdoc)

Mental Health Counselor

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in counseling, psychology or rehabilitation counseling from a regionally accredited school recognized by the U.S. Department of Education; or
  • Master’s or doctoral degree in counseling, psychology or rehabilitation counseling in addition to either of the following certifications based on an examination: Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification or National Certified Counselors

Marriage and Family Therapist

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy
  • At least 3,000 hours of work experience as evidenced by an employer’s signature, or three affidavits in the case of self-employment
  • At least 1,000 hours of clinical experience
  • At least 200 hours of clinical supervision

Social Worker

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in social work
  • Passing score on the Master’s examination given by the Association of Social Work Boards

Making the Most of Your Psychology Degree

As you enroll in a program to earn your psychology degree, you should learn about the professional associations that accept students, such as the Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Membership in these organizations offers substantial 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 affecting 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 to 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.



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