New Mexico State Licensing Requirements

licensing-new-mexicoNew Mexico is a great place to study to become a social worker, therapist, counselor or psychologist. There are some excellent schools here, like the University of NM at Albuquerque and NM State University at Las Cruces, as well as many other reputable institutions of higher learning.

But what degree is required to practice, and what do you need to get licensed in the helping professions?

If you would like to get the knowledge and skills to help people cope with life issues such as alcohol dependency, anxiety and depression, overcome more serious mental-health problems, and just generally improve the quality of their lives, keep reading to learn about going to psychology school in New Mexico.

Getting Licensed to Practice in New Mexico

Licensing is an important step before you can become a practicing social worker, psychologist, therapist or counselor.

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 New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department (RLD). Make sure to consult the RLD for the full requirements.


  • Doctoral degree in psychology from a university accredited by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)
  • Two years (3,000 hours) of supervised experience is required for licensure. Up to one year (1,500 hours) can be in a pre-doctoral practicum or internship approved by the APA; and 750 hours can be done in a pre-doc internship.
  • Passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
  • Pass an online jurisprudence examination on ethical standards, New Mexico laws

Mental Health Counselor

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a counseling-related field from an accredited institution
  • A minimum of two years’ postgraduate professional clinical counseling experience, with 3,000 hours of postgraduate clinical client contact and 100 hours of face-to-face postgraduate supervision
  • Supervision must be provided by a licensed professional clinical mental health counselor (LPCC), licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), licensed professional art therapist (LPAT), licensed psychologist, licensed psychiatrist, or licensed independent social worker (LISW).
  • Passing score on the national counselor examination (NCE) and the national clinical mental health counseling examination (NCMHCE)
  • Applicants must sign a statement indicating that they have read the code of ethics and agree to be bound and governed by it.

Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFP)

  • Master’s or doctorate in marriage and family therapy from an accredited institution
  • At least two years of supervised work experience. This supervised experience must include a minimum of 1,000 hours of post-grad direct client contact. Candidates must have a minimum of 200 hours of post-graduate marriage and family supervision, including at least 100 hours of individual supervision.
  • You must get a passing score on the examination for marital and family therapy (PES).

Social Worker

There are three levels of social work licensure in New Mexico: baccalaureate social worker, master social worker, and the highest level, independent social worker. To become an independent social worker, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Master’s degree or higher in social work from a CSWE-accredited program
  • Individuals licensed as master social workers and wanting to become independent social workers must document 3,600 hours of licensed master’s level social work experience within five years. 90 hours of this work must be supervised, and 70 of the 90 hours must be under direct supervision.
  • Pass the Association of Social Work Board examination and the NM jurisprudence exam
  • Pass a required course in New Mexico cultures
  • Note that master social workers may not practice independently as private practitioners

Making the Most of Your Degree

As you enroll in a program to earn a psychology degree, you should think about joining the professional organizations that accept students. Membership in associations such as the New Mexico Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers 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
  • Consultation with mentors and advocates in your profession

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 from the start to ensure that you’ll be efficient in your studies and can get into the right helping profession for you.



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