Michigan Psychology, Social Work & Counseling Licensure Requirements

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From the Great Lakes to Motor City, Michigan has a lot to offer to those who call it home. Whether you’re a long time resident or new to the area, this Midwest state could be the perfect place to start a career in the field of human services.

Looking for a role in psychology, counseling, or social work? Read on to find all the information you need about earning your professional license.

Psychology Licensure in Michigan

The Michigan Board of Psychology is the state source for everything related to the practice and licensing of psychologists.

Education requirements

To be eligible to practice without limitations, you’ll need to earn a doctoral degree to become a licensed psychologist. Your degree must be from a program that’s accredited by either the American Psychological Association (APA) or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). Also acceptable is a program that’s received a National Register designation from the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).

Properly accredited programs will include a 2,000-hour internship that’s required for licensing. While the internship is typically completed during your schooling, the board does make exceptions by allowing some candidates to complete their internship after graduation. That said, it’s best to avoid delaying this experience as you’ll also be required to complete additional postdoc supervised hours.

Psychology licensing requirements

Following your internship and graduation, you’ll need to complete another 2,000 hours of supervised experience. These hours should be completed in a healthcare setting within 2 consecutive years. If you plan on earning these hours in Michigan, you’ll first need to earn a Doctoral Limited License, which requires that you hold a doctoral degree and complete a background check.

Once all of these requirements are met, you’ll need to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) administered by the ASPPB. This exam is required of all aspiring psychologists across the country. It consists of 225 multiple-choice questions and you’ll need to earn a score of at least 500 out of 800 in order to pass.

To then complete your application, you’ll need to submit your official transcripts, proof of your test scores, and a processing fee, as well as complete a background check and a fingerprint report.

Renewal and continuing education credits

As a practicing psychologist in Michigan, you’ll need to renew your license every 2 years by earning 30 continuing education credits. At least 2 of these hours must be completed in pain management and symptoms, while 3 hours must be in ethics.

Master’s Limited License

If you’re not interested in earning a doctoral degree but still interested in practicing psychology, then the Master’s Limited License might be for you. Although it doesn’t allow you to practice independently, it does give you the opportunity to work in the field under the supervision of a fully licensed psychologist.

To earn this licensure level, you need to hold a master’s degree in psychology from a regionally accredited program. The program must include at least 1 course in assessment, 1 in treatment, 1 in scientific and professional ethics, and a supervised practicum of at least 500 hours.

As with the full psychology license, you’ll need to complete 2,000 hours of postgraduate supervised experience and pass the EPPP, however, a passing score is considered 450 rather than 500.

You’ll also need to submit your transcripts, a processing fee, and a background check to be reviewed for approval.

License reciprocity

Michigan’s psychology board offers out-of-state candidates the chance to earn a psychologist license through endorsement. To be eligible, you’ll need to complete the fingerprint report and background check and verify that you have at least 1 of the following:

  • A psychology license in another state for at least 10 years;
  • A current Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) issued by the ASPPB; or
  • A current health service provider credential issued by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists

Psychologist salary and career advancement

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that psychologists in Michigan earn an average annual wage of $86,190.

While psychologists often work in private practice, many find employment in hospitals, outpatient care centers, research and development facilities, and even within higher education. There are also various areas of psychology that you can choose to specialize in to advance your career.

Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) Licensure in Michigan

MFTs are overseen by the Michigan Board of Family and Marriage Therapy.

Education requirements

The board provides 2 different options for the education requirements of MFTs:


  • Graduate with a master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution that includes courses in family studies, family therapy methodology, human development, personality theory, psychopathology, research, and ethics and law of professional practice

Additionally, if you’re earning anything other than a doctoral degree from a COAMFTE-accredited program, you must complete a supervised practicum made up of 300 direct client hours over the course of 8 months.

MFT licensing requirements

After earning their degreecandidates must complete 1,000 hours of direct client contact under the supervision of a licensed MFT. You’re exempt from this requirement if you earn a doctoral degree through a COAMFTE accredited program.

While not currently in effect, those applying for a license after April 22, 2021 must complete training specific to identifying the victims of human trafficking.

With all of these requirements met, you can sit for the national exam administered by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB). You’ll receive your scores roughly 3 weeks after taking the exam and, if you’ve passed, you can submit your licensing application for review. You’ll need to include your transcripts and a processing fee, along with completing a background check.

Renewal and continuing education credits

The standard protocol for MFT license renewal in Michigan varies. If it’s your first time holding a license, you’ll need to renew it within a year. From that point on, however, you’re only required to renew every 2 years. You not required to earn any continuing education, though they’re highly recommended for staying relevant in the field.

License reciprocity

Out-of-state candidates who have held a license for 5 or more years may be eligible for a Michigan license by endorsement. For this route, the board will need to verify your out-of-state license, and you’ll need to submit the appropriate application, pay the processing fee, and complete a background check.

If you’ve held your license for fewer than 5 years, you’ll need to complete the same requirements as for initial licensing.

MFT salary and career advancement

Licensed MFTs in Michigan earn an average annual wage of $44,610. And with the job growth of the field expected to reach 22% by 2029—more than 3 times that of the national average for all occupations—those who hold their MTF license could find many career opportunities.

Counseling Licensure in Michigan

From initial application to renewal, counseling licenses in Michigan are overseen by the Board of Counseling.

Education requirements

The minimum degree required is a master’s from a regionally accredited institute. It’s highly encouraged by the board that your program be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) or the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE).

Along with at least 48 semester hours of coursework specific to counseling, you’ll also be expected to complete a 600-hour supervised clinical internship. If your program isn’t accredited by the CACREP or the NCRE, then your coursework must include all of the following:

  • Career development
  • Consulting
  • Counseling techniques
  • Counseling theories
  • Counseling philosophy
  • Group techniques
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Professional ethics
  • Research methodology
  • Testing procedures

Counseling licensing requirements

In addition to the education requirements, the board requires all candidates to take and pass either the National Counselor Examination from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) or the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification Exam.

Supervised practice hours are also required to earn a counseling license in Michigan. These hours must be gained after you’ve completed your degree and, if you’re earning these hours in Michigan, you must hold the Limited Professional Counselor License. You can apply for this license once you complete your degree and then begin accruing your required hours.

If you hold a master’s degree, you’ll need to earn 3,000 hours in a 2-year period, with 100 of these hours completed under immediate supervision. Those who have earned 30 semester hours beyond a master’s degree only need to complete 1,500 hours in a 1-year period, with 50 hours completed under direct supervision.

Starting March 17, 2021, training focused on the identification of human trafficking victims must also be completed before you can earn your license.

With all of these requirements completed, you can submit your application for approval. You’ll need to include documentation verifying that you’ve met the requirements and complete the criminal background check.

Renewal and continuing education credits

To keep your counseling license up to date, you’ll need to renew it every 3 years. Continuing education isn’t required, but as with MFTs, it’s recommended to maintain stay on top of advances in the field.

License reciprocity

The board allows out-of-state candidates who have held a license for 5 or more years to apply for licensure through endorsement. This process verifies your license and the standards required to obtain that license, and requires the criminal background check.

Those who have held their license for fewer than 5 years must apply by meeting the requirements mentioned in the previous sections.

Counselor salary and career advancement

In Michigan, general counselors earn an average annual wage of $38,650. However, the field of counseling can be broken into more specialized areas, where your earning potential can increase. Other average salaries in Michigan include:

Social Work Licensure in Michigan

The Michigan Board of Social Work oversees 3 notable types of licenses:

LMSW, LBSW, SST: what’s the difference?

The difference between the 3 distinctions is the level of education needed and the scope that your license allows you to have.

The LMSW is the highest level of license offered for social workers in Michigan. It allows you to practice at the clinical level without supervision and gives you the opportunity to start your own practice.

Next is the LBSW, which, while still allowing you to practice social work, is slightly limiting compared to the LMSW. At this level, you must be supervised by an LMSW and you can’t hold a position in management. However, if administrative roles or owning your own practice don’t appeal to you, the LBSW might be right up your alley.

An SST can be earned by having either an associate’s degree or valid work experience, giving candidates the chance to find entry-level roles within the field of social work.

Education requirements

As their names suggest, the LMSW requires candidates to hold a master’s degree, while the LBSW requires a bachelor’s. SST candidates need to hold an associate’s degree in social work or have relevant supervised experience.

No matter what degree you seek, any institution you attend must be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Social work licensing requirements

The requirements for becoming a social worker in Michigan vary depending on the license level you want to earn.


A unique aspect of the LMSW is that there’s additional classifications within it—Clinical and Macro. The LMSW-Clinical allows social workers to focus on seeing and addressing problems directly with their clients. The LMSW-Macro, on the other hand, is more of an administrative classification designed for those who interested in entering management roles.

Each distinction requires you to complete 4,000 hours of postgraduate supervised work over a 2-year period. You’ll need to complete a portion of these hours in the type of work environment designated by the type of license you seek.

If you’re earning these supervised hours in Michigan, you’ll need to obtain a Limited LMSW (LLMSW) before beginning. The LLMSW requires you to hold a master’s degree and complete a background check. It can be renewed up to 6 times while you complete your hours.

Once you’ve met all the requirements for education and work experience, the final hurdle is the exam. The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) offers the Clinical Exam for those seeking LMSW-Clinical licensing and the Advanced Generalist Exam for those seeking the LMSW-Macro.


LBSWs must complete 4,000 hours of supervised postgrad experience over the course of 2 years. For those completing their hours in Michigan, you’ll need to earn a Limited LBSW (LLBSW) before you can begin working towards that requirement. To get your LLBSW, you’ll need to hold a bachelor’s degree in social work and complete a background check.

When you’ve completed your postgraduate hours, you can earn your official license by taking and passing the Bachelor’s Exam offered by the ASWB.


For those looking to earn an SST, you must have an associate’s degree in social work specifically or be currently employed in social or human services and have 2,000 hours of supervised experience over the course of at least a year.

To complete these hours, you’ll first need to earn a Limited SST. This can be obtained by completing 2 years of college in any field and by being either currently employed in social or human services or having an offer for employment in the field. The Limited SST can only be renewed once.

You don’t need to take an exam to earn your SST distinction, but you’ll need to complete a background check before you’re considered eligible.

Renewal and continuing education requirements

The LMSW, LBSW, and SST all have a renewal period of 3 years. The SST, however, doesn’t require any continuing education for renewal. The LMSW and LBSW, on the other hand, require 45 hours. While most of these hours can be geared towards your own professional interests, 5 must be in ethics and 2 in pain and pain symptom management.

Starting in 2021, all social work candidates, no matter at which level, must complete the training on human trafficking before being considered for a license.

License reciprocity

Michigan doesn’t provide full reciprocity for out-of-state license-holders, however, they do offer licensure by endorsement. If the candidate meets the education, exam, and supervised experience requirements and passes a background check, they’re eligible to apply for the Michigan social work license that corresponds to their level.

Social worker salary and career advancement

According to the BLS, social workers in Michigan earn an annual average wage of $61,240. But as mentioned, there are varying levels of social work and even a variety of industries where you can find employment. What license you hold and the industry you work in can impact your expected salary. More specific roles include: