New Jersey State Licensing Requirements
New Jersey has much to offer those who want to work in the helping professions, including social work, therapy, counseling and psychology. There are great universities here, like Rutgers and Princeton, but also many other fine institutions of higher education.
But what degree do you need to enter these careers, and what are the licensing requirements?
If you would like to get the knowledge and skills to help people overcome mental-health problems, deal with other life issues, and just generally help them lead happier lives, keep reading to learn about going to psychology school in New Jersey.
Getting Licensed to Practice in New Jersey
Obtaining licensure is an important step for professional social workers, psychologists, therapists and counselors to legally practice in the state. To get licensed, you’ll need a degree, need to pass a state and/or national exam and meet other licensing requirements in your field. Here are some of the requirements to practice in the most common psychology-based careers, according to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA).
Make sure to consult the NJ DCA for the full requirements.
- Doctoral degree in psychology
- Two years of full-time (3,500 hours) supervised practice, at least one year of which (1,750 hours) is acquired subsequent to receiving the doctorate
- A passing grade on the written Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
- After passing the written examination, you must pass a written jurisprudence examination based upon the statutes and regulations governing the practice of psychology in NJ.
Mental Health Counselor
- Master’s or doctoral degree in counseling, psychology or rehabilitation counseling from a regionally accredited school
- Supervised experience of 4,500 hours
- A passing grade on the National Counselor Examination
Marriage and Family Therapist
- Master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy
- Three years of supervised experience, at least two in marriage and family therapy; the other one in counseling
- A passing grade on the marital and family therapy board examination
There are three levels of social work licensure in New Jersey: certified social worker (CSW), licensed social worker (LSW), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). To become an LCSW, you’ll need the following:
- Master’s or doctoral degree in social work
- Two years of full-time supervised clinical social work experience
- A passing grade on the clinical exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards
Making the Most of Your Degree
As you start your psychology degree, you should also learn about the professional associations that accept student members. Membership in organizations such as the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers offers great benefits:
- Access to job databases and other 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 helping profession is right for you: counselor, therapist, social worker or psychologist? 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 career for you.
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