Rhode Island State Licensing Requirements

licensing-rhode-islandEven as the nation’s smallest state, Rhode Island has much to offer those who want to become a social worker, therapist, counselor or psychologist. There are many great schools here like Brown and Bryant, and lots of other institutions of higher learning. But what degree will you need, and what are the requirements to be licensed to practice in the helping professions?

If you want to get the training and skills to help people cope with challenging life issues, overcome mental-health problems, and generally improve the quality of their lives, keep reading to learn about going to psychology school in Rhode Island.

Getting Licensed to Practice in Rhode Island

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

For licensure in these fields, you’ll need the required degree, need to take and pass a state and/or national exam, and meet other licensing requirements in your specific field of study. Here are some of the requirements to practice in the following fields, according to the Rhode Island Board of Psychology and other licensing entities. Make sure to consult the appropriate entity for the most up-to-date requirements.

Psychologist

  • Doctoral degree in psychology from an institution of higher learning accredited by the American Psychological Association, or another accrediting institution
  • Supervised clinical experience and internship programs: 1,500 hours of supervised internship after two years of graduate study; after the completion of academic requirements for the doctorate, 3,000 hours of supervised experience over two years, 1,500 hours of which will be post-doctoral hours
  • Passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)

Clinical Mental Health Counselor

  • A master’s or doctoral degree in counseling from an accredited university or college of at least 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours, including 12 semester hours or 18 quarter hours in an advanced counseling practicum, and a one-year internship of 20 hours per week in mental health counseling
  • A passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination of the National Board of Certified Counselors, or an acceptable substitution, such as the National Counselor Examination (NCE)
  • After receiving a master’s degree, 2,000 hours of supervised post-graduate direct client contact offering clinical, counseling or therapy over the course of two years, with a minimum of 100 hours of post-degree supervised casework

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)

  • A master’s or doctoral degree of at least 60 semester hours or 90 quarter credits in marriage and family therapy from an accredited program
  • A passing score on the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB)
  • A one-year supervised practicum in marriage and family therapy, consisting of a minimum of 12 semester hours or 18 quarter hours
  • Supervised experience in marriage and family therapy of 2,000 hours in at least two years, with a minimum of 100 hours of supervision of post-graduate work experience

Social Worker

There are two levels of social workers in Rhode Island: licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW). To become a LCSW, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Master’s degree or higher in social work from a CSWE-accredited program
  • Pass the clinical-level national exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
  • Supervision by a LICSW: a minimum of two hours of supervision every two weeks, a minimum of one hour of supervision per 20 hours of direct client contact, one-to-one contact with the supervisor at least 75% of the time, the rest of the time being group supervision

For more details, consult the Rhode Island Board of Social Work Examiners.

Making the Most of Your Degree

As you enroll in a program to earn a psychology degree, you should learn about the professional associations that accept students. Membership in organizations such as the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers offers great benefits:

  • Access to job databases and other resources
  • Information about legislation affecting your profession
  • 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 and get licensed so you can get into the helping profession that’s right for you.

Sources: www.health.ri.gov/licensing/healthcare, www.health.ri.gov/applications/Psychologist.pdf, www.health.ri.gov/applications/MentalHealthCounselor.pdf, www.sos.ri.gov/documents/archives/regdocs/released/pdf/DOH/5084.pdf

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