Welcome to the MilSpouse Network’s Licensure Page! Here you will find all the licensure information and resources you need to support you through your journey towards becoming a mental health professional.
Accreditation, Licensing, and Certification Explained
Accreditation is an important distinction for an undergraduate or graduate program. When a university or college has regional accreditation, it indicates its programs have met the qualitative standards of its designated accrediting body. Although universities and colleges can maintain national and state accreditation, it is imperative for a program to have established regional accreditation. To review information regarding your profession’s accrediting body, please view the resources on this page.
Bottom Line: Accreditation focuses on evaluating the quality of programs, NOT individual practitioners.
Government sanctioned credentialing is usually called licensure and is based on the legal concept of the regulatory power of the state. This power holds that the state has the right and obligation to pass laws and take other such actions as it may deem necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. Passage of a state licensure or credentialing law for a given profession restricts or prohibits the practice of that profession by individuals not meeting state-determined qualification standards, and violators may be subject to legal sanctions such as fines, loss of license to practice, or imprisonment.
Licensing is typically provided by individual states. Individual professionals (including social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists, and psychologists among others) are approved and regulated by state licensing boards. To legally work in your field in a particular state, you must first become licensed by state licensing boards. These governmental boards establish their own application criteria, which usually include attaining specific educational requirements and passing standardized exams to test competency. Most also have professional ethics boards that work hand in hand with the state licensing board.
Certification is typically provided and regulated by state municipalities and is focused on ensuring the competency of individual practitioners. Professional certifications focus almost exclusively on establishing and monitoring education and training levels for working professionals. More often than not, a candidate seeking professional certification must meet designated educational and other specific professional criteria. In and of itself, however, this certification is not a practice credential, but rather a professional credential, in that it does not give the holder permission to practice. That permission is given only by the governmentally sanctioned entity.
For example, you may become a National Certified Addiction Counselor but you may hold a license in the discipline of social work or counseling.
Bottom Line: Licensing and Certification focus on the regulation of the practice, its focus is on the individual practitioner.
State Specific Licensure and Examination Information
- State Professional Counselor Licensure Boards
- Professional Associations and Certification Organizations
- The National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)
- The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)
Counselor Education: CACREP and Tricare:
- Three federal agencies have made graduation from a CACREP accredited program a requirement for independent practice in counseling. Learn about them at www.cacrep.org
- Final Rule: Tricare Certified Mental Health Counselors
Marriage and Family Therapy:
School Guidance Counseling:
- See the Financial Resources and Information page.