Indiana Psychology, Social Work & Counseling Licensure Requirements
Indiana is known across the country for its abundant farmland, the bustling capital of Indianapolis, and the world-renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. With good schools and a relatively low cost of living, the state’s population is growing and the employment possibilities are too. This has made Indiana an increasingly popular place to pursue an education and build a rewarding career.
If you’re looking to practice in psychology, counseling, therapy, or social work, Indiana has opportunities for you as well. To do so, you’ll need to meet a set of state-specific requirements involving education, experience, and licensing. Read on to learn the steps you need to take to join the ranks of Indiana residents in these fields.
Psychology Licensure in Indiana
Psychology licensure in Indiana is administered by the Indiana State Psychology Board. There are educational, testing, and experience steps you’ll need to take before you can practice in the state. Though you can find roles related to psychology that don’t have these requirements, you must meet them if you wish to practice independently without supervision.
There are 3 educational steps you’ll have to take before you can apply for licensure.
- Step 1: Earn your bachelor’s degree. Many students earn their bachelor’s degree in psychology, but you can choose to earn your degree in a related field as well. Some options include human services, sociology, and social work.
- Step 2: Earn your master’s degree. You can earn either a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in psychology. The coursework for your master’s degree can also be completed as part of your doctoral degree in some programs.
- Step 3: Earn your doctoral degree. Your program will typically be either a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. Either one will allow you to practice in Indiana, but a PsyD is focused on patient treatment, while a PhD emphasizes research and teaching. A doctoral program usually takes somewhere between 4 and 8 years to complete and will include an internship of at least 1,500 supervised hours.
Psychology licensing requirements
There are a few more steps you’ll be required to take once you complete your education. For initial licensure, you must:
Complete an application
Your first step will be to submit an application to the board. The application asks for:
- Transcripts from your doctoral program
- An application fee
- Detailed information about your educational and professional background
Once you’ve completed the application and it has been processed by the board, you’ll need to submit a request for a criminal background check to the state. You won’t be able to receive a permanent or a temporary license until your criminal background check has been processed and reviewed.
Take your exams
Indiana requires aspiring psychologists to take 2 exams. The first exam you’ll need to take is the jurisprudence exam specific to the laws of the state. Once you pass this test, you’ll be able to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP is a nationally used exam administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The exam consists of 225 multiple-choice questions and must be passed with a score of at least 500 out of 800.
Requirements for endorsement as a health service provider in psychology (HSPP)
In order to complete assessments and provide services to patients, you’ll need to gain additional endorsement as an HSPP. Gaining HSPP endorsement requires a year of supervised professional experience with a licensed psychologist. This must amount to at least 1,600 hours, with 50% of those spent providing clinical services. This year is in addition to the 1,500 internship hours required by your doctoral program and must be completed after graduation.
Your application to the Indiana Professional License Agency will ask for verification of these hours from your supervisor. Once the board has reviewed and approved your materials, you’ll gain the HSPP endorsement and be able to practice psychology independently in the state.
Maintaining your license
Indiana requires that psychologists apply for license renewal during even-numbered years. You’ll need to submit your renewal application by August 31st. If you have HSPP endorsement, you’ll be required to complete 40 continuing education (CE) requirements in addition to the fee and application.
If you’re currently licensed in another state, you can apply for license reciprocity in Indiana. You’ll need to take the following steps before reciprocity is granted:
- Complete the application to practice in Indiana
- Provide proof of your current license and education
- Provide proof you have taken and passed the EPPP
- Submit a criminal background check
- Pay a fee of $100
- Take the jurisprudence exam
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Indiana is $67,440.
Therapy & Counseling Licensure in Indiana
The Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board license 3 types of therapists and counselors.
- Marriage and family therapists: Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) help couples and families work through a wide range of issues that affect the home.
- Mental health counselors: Mental health counselors work with clients to help them manage concerns that can range from everyday stressors to mental and behavioral disorders.
- Addiction counselors: Addiction counselors work with clients who are struggling with substance abuse or with behavioral addictions such as gambling.
The first step to practicing any type of therapy or counseling in Indiana is to earn your bachelor’s degree. From there, the steps you take will depend on the specific license you want to earn.
Marriage and family therapists
You’ll need to earn at least a master’s level degree in order to work as an MFT in Indiana. If possible, your degree should specifically be in marriage and family therapy, but a related field can also be used if it contains at least 27 semester hours of MFT coursework. During your master’s program, you’ll be required to complete a practicum that includes 500 direct client contact hours, including 100 hours under appropriate supervision.
Mental health counselors
To obtain your counseling license, you’ll need to earn at least a master’s-level degree in counseling. Your degree must be from an accredited school and include at least 60 semester hours. Your degree needs to include at least 1,000 hours of supervised counseling fieldwork. The experience has to include the following components:
- A 100-hour practicum
- A 600-hour internship
- A 300-hour advanced internship
- At least 100 hours of direct supervision
You’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to apply for licensure as an addiction counselor. Your degree needs to be in addiction counseling or a closely related field. Related programs must include at least 40 credit hours related to addictions and psychology. Your degree will also need to include supervised addiction counseling field experience, and you’ll be required to spend at least 350 of these hours providing direct addiction counseling services.
Addiction counselors can also choose to earn a master’s degree in addiction counseling. With this degree, you’ll be able to gain the advanced licensed clinical addictions counselor (LCAC) credential. During a master’s program, you’ll need to complete an internship of at least 700 hours. A minimum of 280 of hours must in direct client contact, and a minimum of 105 hours must be supervised by an approved LCAC.
Therapy and counseling licensing requirements
There are a few more requirements you’ll need to complete after finishing your education. The board licenses all 3 types of counselors and therapists by experience level, with specific rules for the type of experience you must gain before advancing to a higher-level license.
Marriage and family therapists
After you graduate, you can first apply for licensure as a marriage and family therapy associate (MFTA). You’ll need to take the exam administered by the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) and complete a criminal background check before your MFTA license is granted. The AMFTRB exam can only be taken with the board’s approval. It’s important to keep in mind that if you fail the exam more than 3 times, you’ll need to complete remedial education.
Once you have your associate license, you’ll be able to practice under the supervision of a fully licensed MFT and begin earning the hours you need to gain your full license. The board requires that you complete 2 years of postgraduate supervised clinical experience. You’ll need to complete at least 1,000 clinical hours, with 200 hours being supervised and 100 of those being individually supervised. Supervised clinical hours must include work with the following categories of clients:
- Unmarried couples
- Married couples
- Divorcing or separating couples
- Family groups that include children
You can apply for your MFT license after you complete your clinical experience. You’ll need to provide the board with verification of your education and experience. The board will require you to submit a passport-quality photo along with your application materials.
Mental health counselors
You can apply for licensure as a licensed mental health counselor associate (LMHCA) after graduating from your master’s program. You’ll need to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) and complete a criminal background check. You can apply for a nonrenewable temporary license while you wait for your exam date and results. You’ll have 3 chances to pass the exam. If you don’t pass it after the third time, you’ll need to appear before the board before any additional steps can be taken.
With your LMHCA license, you can work under the supervision of a fully licensed professional and work toward earning the hours you need for your license. You’ll need to complete 3,000 hours of clinical experience within 2 years. Your experience needs to include 100 hours of direct supervision.
You can apply to the board for full licensure as a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) once you complete these hours. You’ll need to include a passport-quality photo along with your application materials.
You can begin to work as an addiction counselor after graduation by applying for the licensed addiction counselor associate (LADA) credential. As with the MFT and LMHC licensure, you’ll need to pass a criminal background check and take an exam to work under a LADA license. Indiana accepts 2 exams:
- The Alcohol & Drug Counselors (ADC) exam offered by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC)
- National Certified Addiction Counselor Level 2 (NCAC II) exam offered by the NAADAC-National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC-NCC AP)
You’ll have 3 chances to pass your chosen exam. If you don’t pass after your third attempt, you’ll need to appear before the board.
Once you’re licensed as a LADA, you can work under the supervision of a fully licensed professional and begin earning the hours that are required for full licensure. You’ll need to complete 2 years of addiction counseling experience, with 150 of those hours being supervised. Within your supervised hours, 100 will need to be individually supervised, and the remaining 50 must be under group supervision.
You can then apply for full licensure as a licensed addiction counselor (LAC). A passport-quality photo needs to be included with your application materials, however, there are some additional steps you need to take. You’ll need to complete 2 years of clinical addiction counseling experience, with at least 200 of those hours being supervised. Half of those need to be individually supervised, and the other 100 will need to be under group supervision. You’ll also need to take either the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselors (AACD) exam from IC & RC or the NAADAC-NCC AP Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) exam.
Renewal for all counselors and therapists, on all levels, has the same requirements. You’ll need to complete 40 continuing education hours every 2 years. The board maintains a list of approved CE providers on their website.
Indiana grants reciprocity to counselors and therapists licensed in other states. You’ll need to submit proof of your education, supervised hours, and test scores to the board. Additionally, you’ll need to pay a fee and submit a passport-quality photo.
Therapist and counselor salaries
According to the BLS, average annual salaries for these roles in Indiana are as follows:
- Marriage and family therapists: $48,670
- Mental health counselors: $41,840
- Substance abuse and behavioral health counselors: $37,800
- All other counselors: $43,510
Social Work Licensure in Indiana
Social workers in Indiana are licensed by the Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board. You’ll need to meet the board’s requirements for education, testing, and experience before you can practice in the state.
LBSW, LSW, and LCSW: what’s the difference?
You might see social workers referred to by many different titles throughout the country. States generally license social workers at several levels based on their education and experience. Higher levels allow for a broader scope of practice and greater independence. Indiana awards 3 social work licenses:
- Licensed bachelor social worker (LBSW): This is the entry level for social workers in Indiana. With this license, you can work under supervision and hold jobs such as a social services assistant or caseworker.
- Licensed social worker (LSW): As an LSW, you can work independently and hold jobs such as case manager or child and family social worker.
- Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW): This is the highest level of social work licensure in Indiana. With an LCSW, you can work in private practice or hold jobs such as healthcare social worker.
The minimum education credential for a social work career in Indiana is a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. Your BSW must be from a school that’s accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). With a BSW, you can apply for licensure as an LBSW or as an LSW, though you’ll need to take additional steps beyond your degree to earn your LSW license.
Social workers who earn their Master of Social Work (MSW) are eligible to apply for licensure as an LSW or an LCSW. Your MSW needs to be from a CSWE-accredited school. In order to gain admission, you’ll likely need to take the GRE, have a strong GPA from your BSW program, and provide letters of recommendation. Your MSW program will need to include clinical coursework if you want to earn LCSW licensure.
Social work licensing requirements
Once you’ve obtained your bachelor’s or master’s, your next steps will depend on the level of licensure you want to be awarded.
Licensed bachelor social worker
- Official transcripts
- A criminal background check
- A passport-quality photo
- An application fee
You’ll be eligible for LBSW licensure after you pass the exam.
Licensed social worker
The steps you need to take to be granted an LSW license depend on the degree you’ve earned. No matter your degree level, you’ll need to take the ASWB master’s-level exam, complete a criminal background check, submit a photograph, and pay the application fee.
- BSW level: If you’ve earned your BSW, you’ll need to complete supervised work experience before applying for LSW licensure. This experience must last for at least 2 years, be supervised, be compensated, and be completed after graduation from your BSW program. You’ll need to submit proof of this experience to the board before moving on in the licensure process.
- MSW level: There’s no experience requirement for MSW-level social workers. If you’ve earned your MSW, you can apply to take your exam and be granted licensure.
Licensed clinical social worker
Only MSW-level social workers are eligible for LCSW licensure. Your first step will be applying for LSW licensure. Once you’ve been granted your LSW, you can begin earning the hours you’ll need to earn your LCSW. You’ll be required to gain 2 years of supervised clinical social work experience. This experience will need to be paid and consist of at least 3,000 hours. Half of these hours must be spent providing direct service to clients and 4 hours a month must be under direct supervision.
Your supervisor will need to verify your experience to the board. You can apply to take the clinical-level ASWB exam once your experience is complete. As with all levels, you’ll also need to submit a criminal background check, passport-quality photo, and application fee.
All license levels must be renewed every 2 years. To renew your license, you’ll need to complete 40 continuing education credit hours. Your hours must be approved by the board.
Indiana grants license reciprocity to out-of-state candidates whose education, experience, and test scores are at least equivalent to the requirements of Indiana. If your state didn’t require an ASWB exam, you’ll need to take the exam that corresponds to your education and experience level before practicing in Indiana. All candidates for license reciprocity will also need to:
- Submit a criminal background check
- Send in a quality photograph
- Provide proof that your license is in good standing
- Take the Indiana Jurisprudence exam
Social worker salary
Your salary will depend on your license level, employer, and years of experience. According to the BLS, average salaries for social work job in Indiana include:
- Social and human services assistants: $29,510
- Community and social service specialists: $37,650
- Child, family, and school social workers: $38,940
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers: $42,100
- Healthcare social workers: $48,080
- All other social workers: $59,050
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