Louisiana State Licensing Requirements
Louisiana is a great place to study to become a social worker, therapist, counselor or psychologist—as well as start your practice. But what degree will you need to get into these fields, and what are the requirements to get licensed in the helping professions?
If you would like to get the education, training and skills to help people cope with life issues (such as depression, ADHD and substance abuse), overcome mental-health problems, and generally improve the quality of their lives, keep reading to learn about going to therapy and psychology-based programs in Louisiana.
Licensure to Practice in Louisiana
Licensing is a necessary 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 Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (BEP) and other regulatory bodies. Make sure to consult the appropriate regulatory entity to review the complete and most up-to-date requirements.
To be a psychologist in Louisiana, you must be of good moral character and at least 21 years old. You must also fulfill the following requirements:
- Get a doctorate in psychology from an accredited program appropriate to the practice of psychology
- Do a minimum of 300 hours of in a practicum that precedes your internship, including at least 100 hours of direct client contact and at least 50 hours of individual supervision
- Two years of full-time supervised clinical experience
- Get a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), that is, a scaled score of 500 on the computer administered version
- Take and pass the psychology oral and jurisprudence exams
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
- Master’s degree or higher in counseling from an accredited institution of higher education
- 3,000 hours of post-master’s or post-doctoral supervised clinical work experience in two years in a professional mental health counseling under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor; 500 hours of supervised experience may be granted for each 30 graduate semester hours earned beyond the master’s degree, provided that these hours are clearly related to the field of mental health counseling and are acceptable to the Board, provided that in no case applicants will have less than 2,000 hours of supervised experience
- Passing grade on the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam distributed by the National Board of Certified Counselors
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
- Master’s degree or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (CAMFTE) or by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
- A minimum of 500 supervised direct client contact hours during your master’s or doctoral degree, with a minimum of 250 hours of the 500 hours with couples and families, and a minimum of 100 hours of face-to-face supervision.
- Post-Graduate Supervision Requirements: 3,000 hours in at least two years of supervised experience in the practice of marriage and family therapy; at least 2,000 hours of these hours must be direct clinical services; the remaining 1,000 hours may come from related experiences including but are not limited to workshops, public relations, writing case notes, consulting with referral sources, etc.; supervision must include at least 200 hours of actual supervision, of which at least 100 hours must be individual supervision.
- A passing grade on the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
There are several levels of social worker in Louisiana: Registered Social Worker (RSW), Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). LCSW is the highest level, and LCSWs may independently engage in advanced social work practice based on the application of social work theory, knowledge, ethics, and methods to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or biopsychosocial functioning of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities.
To become an LCSW, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- Earn a master’s degree or doctorate from a school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
- Perform 5,760 hours of postgraduate social work practice. At least three thousand eight hundred forty hours of the required postgraduate social work experience shall be in a setting practicing social work under the supervision of a board-approved clinical supervisor.
- 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 what field you want to go into and you’ve begun your graduate studies, it would be helpful to look into the professional associations that accept students. Membership in organizations such as the Louisiana Association of Marriage and Family Therapy 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: counselor, therapist, social worker or psychologist? Get off on the right foot, and research your licensure requirements and degree options early 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.lsbep.org, http://wwwprd.doa.louisiana.gov/boardsandcommissions/RulesAndRegulations/34_46v63.pdf, www.lpcboard.org, www.lamft.org, www.labswe.org