If you want a career in psychology, counseling, therapy, or social work in Oregon, you’ll need to earn the right state license before you can make a difference in the lives of others. Licensing requirements vary by title, so it’s important to understand the unique credentials required to qualify for the license you desire.
If you’re looking to become a licensed mental health provider in Oregon, keep reading to find out about the education and experience you need to begin a successful career in one of these rewarding fields.
Psychology Licensure in Oregon
Depending on your level of education, you can apply to become either a licensed psychologist or a psychologist associate. Both licenses can ultimately authorize you to practice without supervision, though their individual requirements differ.
The minimum education requirement for a licensed psychologist in Oregon is a doctoral degree in psychology. Typically, applicants have Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees, though other degrees, such as a Doctor of Education (EdD) might also be eligible.
Your degree program must be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). To meet these standards, your program must last a minimum of 3 full-time academic years and must also:
- Include at least 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of credit
- Cover 3 semester hours or the equivalent in scientific and professional ethics, research design and methodology, statistics, psychometric theory, individual differences in behavior, and biological, cognitive-affective, and social bases of behavior
- Consist of at least 1 continuous year in residence
- Require an original psychological dissertation or the equivalent
- Provide a psychology practicum of at least 2 semesters and 300 hours
- Include an internship of 1,500 supervised hours over the course of 2 years
Licensed psychologist associate
The minimum education requirements for licensure as a psychologist associate is a master’s degree in psychology. Your program must have graduate-level accreditation by a regional accrediting agency or for Canadian universities, be provincially or territorially chartered.
Eligible degrees require 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of credit and must:
- Include at least 1 course in ethics and 1 course in psychological tests and measurements
- Consist of at least 1 continuous year in residence
- Provide a 1-year full-time internship or supervised practicum
Psychology licensing requirements
You’ll have to satisfy experience and testing criteria and submit to a background check to complete your application for psychology licensing.
To become a licensed psychologist, you’ll need 1 year of supervised postdoctoral work experience that includes at least 1,500 hours of psychological services. The experience must include weekly supervision by a psychologist who’s been licensed for at least 2 years.
To become a psychologist associate, you must complete at least 3 years of full-time supervised work as a “psychologist associate resident.” After completing this experience, you can apply to the Board for approval to work as an independent psychologist associate.
Before or after you’ve completed your experience, both aspiring psychologists and psychologist associates can sit for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). This national test is required for all psychologists across the country and includes 225 multiple-choice questions. You must earn a score of at least 500 out of 800 in order to pass.
You’ll also need to take the Oregon Jurisprudence Exam (OJE), This open-book exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. The Board sets a different weighted score for each item of the exam and an overall passing score is based on the distribution of those scores.
License renewals take place every even- or odd-numbered year depending on the number of your license. Renewals are due on the last day of your birth month and require you to pay a fee and submit an affidavit affirming that you’ve completed continuing education (CE).
To renew, both psychologists and psychologist associates must earn at least 40 CEs over the previous 2-year period. Of those, 4 hours must be in professional ethics and/or Oregon state psychology regulations and 4 hours on the topic of cultural competency. A 1-time requirement of at least 7 hours on pain management is also required.
The continuing education requirement is only waived if your renewal date arrives when you’ve been licensed for less than a year.
Oregon doesn’t offer immediate reciprocity for either level of license, however, it does give Licensure by Endorsement to psychologists who have a doctoral degree, an active license in another state, and a passing score on the Oregon Jurisprudence Exam. Upon Board approval of your license and education, you may qualify for a temporary permit which allows you to practice for up to 90 days until you can take the OJE.
Counseling & Therapy Licensure in Oregon
The Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (OBLPCT) administers 2 types of licenses: licensed professional counselors (LPCs) and licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs).
A master’s degree is the minimum education requirement for all counselors and therapists in Oregon. Your degree must be at least 2 years in duration, consist of 60 semester or 90 quarter hours, and include at least 700 hours of a clinical practicum or internship. The requirements for coursework depend on the type of licensing you seek.
For LPC licensure, your degree must be from a counseling program approved by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). Degrees from institutions that are accredited by another regional agency might also be accepted, however, they’re subject to specific curriculum requirements.
All acceptable counseling programs must include at least 2 semester or 3 credit hours in the following:
- Counseling theory
- Human growth and development
- Social and cultural foundations
- The helping relationship
- Group dynamics and counseling
- Lifestyle and career development
- Diagnosis of mental disorders
- Research and evaluation
- Professional ethics
Degrees for LMFT licensure must be from a marriage and family therapy program approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or the CACREP.
Coursework must include the following:
- Individual and family development
- Couple and family theoretical foundation studies
- Couple and family therapy, treatment, and techniques
- Diagnosis of mental disorders
- Diversity studies with issues related to power and privilege
- Research methods and statistics
- Professional ethics
Therapy and counseling licensing requirements
Therapy and counseling license requirements in Oregon include experience and testing criteria and the submission of a criminal background check.
Applicants for either license must complete 3 years of postgraduate supervised clinical experience as a registered intern. To qualify for licensure as an LPC or LMFT intern, you must submit a formal plan to the Board detailing how you’ll accrue your clinical hours. Your intern license is valid for 5 years, with the potential for a 1-year extension. Annual renewal is required.
Your experience must include at least 2,400 hours of supervised direct client contact. For MFT candidates, at least 1,000 of these hours must involve couples and families. You may be able
To qualify for an LPC or LMFT license, you’ll have to pass a competency exam and the Oregon Law and Rules Examination. You’re eligible to take a competency exam after meeting your experience requirement and the Board approves your application.
LPCs applicant must pass 1 of the following:
- The National Counselor Examination (NCE)
- The National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE)
- The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination (CRC)
LMFTs also have their choice of test between either:
- The national exam
givenby the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB)
- The Board of Behavioral Sciences’ Marriage and Family Therapist Written Clinical Examination
After passing your chosen test, you’re then eligible to take the Oregon Law and Rules Examination. The test consists of 33 true or false, multiple-choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions. a paper exam of 33 true/false, multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions. You need to answer at least 29 questions correctly to pass the exam.
All LPC and LMFT licenses must renewed annually, though you’ll accrue continuing education credits during a 24-month reporting period. At the time of your annual renewal on even-numbered years, you’ll report your required CE credits according to the following criteria:
- If you’re licensed 24 or more months on your renewal date, you must report at least 40 clock hours of CE.
- If you’re licensed between 12 and 23 months on your first renewal date, you must report at least 20 clock hours of CE.
- If you’re licensed less than 12 months on your first renewal date, no CE credits are required.
Within each 24-month reporting period, your CE credits must meet the following requirements:
- 6 clock hours of training in professional ethics and/or Oregon State regulations for professional counseling or marriage and family therapy
- 4 clock hours of training in cultural competency
- 3 clock hours of supervision-related training if you supervise interns
Oregon doesn’t offer license reciprocity for out-of-state LPCs or LMFTs. To use your credentials, you must have a current, active license to practice professional counseling or marriage and family therapy granted by another state’s credentialing agency.
The Board compares the minimum requirements applicable in your previous jurisdiction against the current requirements for licensure in Oregon. If your education and experience is approved, you’ll still need to take and pass the Oregon Law and Rules Exam in order to earn your license.
Social Work Licensure in Oregon
The State Board of Licensed Social Workers administers social work licenses in Oregon. The Board offers 4 different designations: licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), clinical social work associate (CSWA), licensed master of social work (LMSW), or registered baccalaureate social worker (RBSW).
LCSW, CSWA, LMSW, and RBSW: what’s the difference?
Every state has its own levels, titles, and specific regulations regarding social workers. Oregon offers 2 levels of clinical licensing and 2 levels of nonclinical. The titles vary by job setting and responsibilities, as well as the education and experience needed to become licensed.
|Licensed clinical social worker||Can practice independently in a clinical setting|
|Clinical social work associate||Can work in a clinical setting, but only under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker|
|Licensed master of social work||Can perform nonclinical tasks related to treatment planning, implementation, or evaluation at a specialized or advanced level|
|Registered baccalaureate social worker||Can perform basic nonclinical social work services including assessment, case management, and education|
Applicants for an LCSW, CSWA, or LMSW all require a Master of Social Work degree from an institution that’s accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Foreign degrees determined to be equivalent by the CSWE’s International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service also are eligible.
Applicants for an RBSW license will need a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a program meeting the same accreditation requirements.
Social work licensing requirements
Social work licensing requirements in Oregon include experience and testing specific to each license, as well as the submission of a criminal background check.
No clinical experience is required to apply for your license as an RBSW or LMSW. Clinical social work associates also don’t need experience, however the designation is intended for those who are working toward earning the hours they need to become a fully licensed clinical social worker. CSWAs will need to submit a plan of practice to the Board detailing how they’re going to earn the experience requirements for clinical licensure.
To qualify for an LCSW, you must meet the following criteria:
- Complete 3,500 total hours of clinical practice over a minimum of 24 months
- Spend at least 2,000 of those hours in direct client contact
- Have 100 hours of supervision with at least 50 of those hours being individual
All applicants for social work licensure must take and pass the Oregon Rules and Laws Exam for Social Workers. This is a self-directed, open-book exam that consists of 32 questions. You need to earn a score of at least 90% to pass and you have unlimited chances to take the test.
You must also take a national exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The national you take depends on the level of license you seek:
- Registered baccalaureate social worker: Bachelor’s exam
- Licensed master of social work: Master’s exam
- Licensed clinical social worker: Clinical exam
All licensure candidates, except those applying for a CSWA, have to pass an Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) competency exam specific to their license. RSBW candidates must pass the ASWB Bachelor’s Exam. LMSW candidates must pass the ASWB Master’s Exam.
Social work associates aren’t required to take any test for licensing, however, it’s expected that you’ll take the Clinical-level exam after completing your supervised experience.
In Oregon, the LCSW, LMSW, and RBSW licenses are valid for 2 years, while a clinical social work associate license lasts just 1 year. To renew, you’ll need to pay a fee and meet the following requirements for continuing education:
- LCSW: Minimum of 40 units every 2-year cycle, with at least 6 hours of ethics
- LMSW: Minimum of 30 units every 2-year cycle, with at least 6 hours of ethics
- RBSW: Minimum of 20 units every 2-year cycle, with at least 6 units of ethics
- CSWA: No continuing education requirement
Oregon doesn’t offer license reciprocity to out-of-state social workers, however the Board considers the credentials of individual applicants and weighs their qualifications against Oregon’s current requirements.
LCSW applicants who don’t meet all requirements for an Oregon license, including examination criteria, are issued a CSWA license until all criteria are met.