Montana State Licensing Requirements

licensing-montanaFrom college studies to clinical practice, Montana has much to offer if you wish to become a social worker, therapist, counselor or psychologist. But what degree will you need to get into these fields, and what will you need to do to get licensed to practice in the helping professions?

If you would like to get the education, training and skills to help people cope with life issues (depression, insecurity, OCD, ADHD), overcome mental-health problems, and generally improve the quality of their lives, keep reading to learn about going to psychology school in Montana.

Getting Licensed to Practice in Montana

Licensing is an important, required step before you can legally practice social work, psychology, therapy and 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 of study. Here are some of the requirements to practice in the following fields, according to the Montana Board of Psychologists and other regulatory bodies. Make sure to consult the appropriate regulatory body for the full requirements.

Psychologist

  • Doctorate in psychology from an accredited institution with curriculum standards that meet the approval of the American Psychological Association or similar curriculum guidelines established by the Montana Board of Psychologists
  • Two years of supervised experience in the field of psychology under the direction of qualified professionals (including a year of residency training at the school where you earned your doctoral degree)
  • Examples of psychological work for review by the Montana Board of Psychologists
  • Application for licensure that meets the approval of the Montana Board of Psychologists
  • Passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
  • Oral examination administered by the Montana Board of Psychologists which also focuses on applicants’ competency in psychological assessments

Clinical Professional Counselor (CPC)

  • Master’s degree or higher in counseling with at least 60 semester (90 quarter) hours which contains a 6-semester-hour advanced counseling practicum
  • 3,000 supervised practice hours, with a minimum of 1,500 hours that must be post-degree (supervisors must hold a current valid license in any state as a professional counselor, social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist)
  • Passing Grade on the National Counselor Exam (NCE)
  • Fingerprint-Background Check
  • Continuing Education Requirements: 20 clock hours per year

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)

  • Master’s or a doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from a recognized educational institution or a degree from a program accredited by the commission on accreditation for marriage and family therapy education; or a graduate degree in an allied field from a recognized educational institution and graduate level work that the board determines to be the equivalent of a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or marriage and family counseling
  • 3,000 hours of supervised work experience, 1,000 hours of face-to-face client contact in the practice of marriage and family therapy, of which up to 500 hours may be done during educational credentials
  • A passing grade on the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB)
  • Continuing Education Requirements: 20 clock hours per year to maintain licensure

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

  • Master’s of Social Work or Doctor of Social Work degree from a college or university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • 3,000 hours of supervised, post-degree, psychotherapy work done in not less than 24 months. Supervisors must hold a valid state license as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist. 1,500 hours must be in direct client contact
  • Passing grade on the national exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
  • Fingerprint-Background Check
  • Continuing Education Requirements: 20 clock hours per year to maintain licensure

Making the Most of Your Degree

Once you’ve begun your degree, you may want to learn about the professional associations that accept students. Membership in organizations such as the Montana Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors Association (MLCPCA) offers great benefits:

  • Access to job databases and community resources
  • Information about legislation that affects your work, and lobbying efforts to protect your professional interests
  • 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, won’t have any licensing problems, and can get into the right helping profession for you.

Sources: www.bsd.dli.mt.gov/license/bsd_boards/psy_board/board_page.asp; www.bsd.dli.mt.gov/license/bsd_boards/swp_board/board

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