GA LPC Requirements: Past Board Chair Supervisor and Ethics Expert

How do i get licensed as an lPC in georgia?

Step-by-step process for becoming a licensed professional counselor

I served for 7 years on the GA Composite Board , enforcing GA LPC Requirements and processing over 7000 LPC/LAPC applications. This information is accurate. I provide LPC supervision ,  approved ethics workshops for LPC SW and MFT andprivate ethics consultation. NOTE: important info for GA LPC CPCS Supervisors critical for board rules. How difficult is it to get licensed as an LPC, LCSW or MFT in Georgia? It is not difficult, but you must plan and think it through properly.  In Georgia, these licenses are administered by the Secretary of State's office (in other states for example, they may be handled by the State Board of Health). Whichever is the case, licensing boards including the Georgia Composite Board of Professional of Professional Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists are moving towards stricter requirements. The specific licensing steps outlined here apply to GA APC and LPC only. This will also be very helpful if you are moving from another state and trying to get licensed in Georgia. Read the Composite Board rules. Study them carefully. Study them as if they were a text book. Start by reading the "Definitions" section. The purpose of this blog is to address the difficult questions.

Your Graduate Degree

It is critical for you to choose an eligible school and academic program. Factors to remember are: 

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    Retain unofficial copies of all graduate transcripts.
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    Is the school regionally accredited by either the Council on Higher Education Association (CHEA) or CACREP? Georgia's board may be moving toward accepting CACREP only. If you have not started graduate school, it would be wise to find a CACREP program. There are many CACREP accredited counseling programs.
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    Is the degree primarily counseling in content?
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    Does the coursework reflect it as a program in applied practice of psychotherapy. An example of an unacceptable degree is Sociology. Whereas some of the courses may have a focus on group interaction, since is not group therapy, the board will not accept this degree. 
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    You will be in a pickle if the board does not accept your degree since you will need to return to school and get a different degree if you want to get licensed. GA's counseling board has all but eliminated the option of taking courses "ala carte" to meet the degree requirements for licensing. 
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    You must have completed coursework from specific content areas. 

Degree Program Coursework

Now that you have met school and degree requirements, you must meet specific course requirements. Note that if you complete your degree after September 30 2018, you will be required to have completed courses in all 9 of the following content areas. So hurry and complete that degree and you will only need to complete 6 out of 9 content areas.

Extremely important: regardless of whether you must complete 6 or 9 of the content areas, one of those courses must include diagnosing. If "diagnose" is not actually in the course name but you learned diagnosing as part of the course, obtain a copy of the course description from the university bulletin. (Notice course content area IX, "Psychopathology".) 

Board Rules and List of Course Requirements

Counseling/Psychotherapy Theory, which includes the principles, concepts, and practice of counseling/psychotherapy and the major models of counseling/psychotherapy.

A Counseling or Applied Psychology Practicum or Internship as part of the graduate degree program.

Courses in six (6) of the following nine (9) content areas, after September 30, 2018, all 9 content areas of the following course work are required:

Human Growth and Development, which includes an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels, personality theory, and learning theory, and which may provide a comprehensive overview of the factors, determinants, and stages that pertain to physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development and adaptation from infantile to geriatric stages.

Multicultural Counseling or Diversity Training, which includes an understanding of societal changes and trends, human roles, societal subgroups, diversity, social mores and interaction patterns, and differing lifestyles; and competency in counseling a diverse clientele.

Counseling Techniques or Skills, which includes an understanding of the philosophic bases of helping processes, helper self-understanding and self-development, and the facilitation of client change; OR Advanced Psychotherapy/Intervention Theory, which includes the in-depth study of the major theories, principles, methods and techniques of psychotherapy with individuals, groups or families, focusing on the treatment or prevention of behavior disorders, adjustment problems, psychopathology, or other psychological disturbance.

Group Dynamics and Group Counseling/Psychotherapy, which includes an understanding of group development, dynamics, and counseling/psychotherapy theories; group leadership styles; group counseling/psychotherapy methods and skills; and other groupapproaches.

Lifestyle and Career Development, which includes an understanding of career development theories; occupational educational information sources and systems; career and leisure counseling, guidance and education; lifestyle and career decision making; and career development program planning, resources, and evaluation.

Appraisal/Assessment of Individuals, which includes an understanding of psychometric theories and approaches to appraisal/ assessment; validity and reliability; psychometric statistics; the selection, administration, scoring and interpretation of various assessment instruments; and the use of appraisal/assessment results in the counseling/psychotherapy process.

Research Methods and Evaluation, which includes an understanding of types of research, statistics, research report development, research implementation, program evaluation, needs assessment, and ethical and legal considerations in research; OR Research Statistics, which includes an understanding of the theory, analysis and interpretation of manual or computer generated statistical measures.

Professional Orientation and Ethics, which includes an understanding of ethical and legal standards, professional roles, responsibilities, and functions; professional goals and objectives; professional organizations and associations; professional history and trends; professional preparation standards; and professional credentialing.

Psychopathology, which includes theories, research, descriptive characteristics, categories, dynamics, and etiology of mental, behavioral, cognitive and personality disorders with a focus on utilization of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) and/or International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Post masters Hours and Years Requirements

Directed Experience ("Direction")

Directed Experience is your work. Your counseling place of employment. Georgia's Composite board is becoming increasingly stringent with work settings. Too many counselors were trying to fly under the radar with work settings that are essentially private practice but provide little or no employer/employee oversight. The board has closed the door on that. Your best bet is to seek W-2 employment. If you decide to seek something less structured or a 1099 compensation it may be acceptable to the board. Just be sure there exists a legal relationship which provides for hiring and termination. This is essential for meeting GA LPC requirements.

Clinical Supervision ("Supervision")

In addition, your supervisor must eligible and acceptable to the board. They must be three years post licensure. Current rules state that after September 30 2018 will require your supervisor to have a state or national supervisor credential. If you are relocating to Georgia you will either need a Georgia CPCS (Certified Professional Clinical Supervisor) or Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) which is a national credential. The CPCS is issued and maintained by the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia (LPCA) and the ACS by the National Board for Certified Counselors

Direction and Supervision Must be Simultaneous

Now that I have defined Direction and Supervision, you must be under supervision and direction simultaneously. Practice without supervision is not allowed. It is interpreted by the board as unlicensed practice for which there are serious consequences. Any hours which are not will be ineligible to use toward your post masters hours and years requirements. They will be not count towards your license. The years and hours depends upon the level of your graduate degree. Please review the rules for details. 

The Application

Georgia application for APC and LPC

Download the application for LAPC and LPC. Depending on which license you're applying for. you will need the following forms:

view lpc application
best informationfor ga lpc apc lpc

5 Killer Tips for completing the application

  • Print large and clearly. The board reviews these applications on a computer screen and believe me, your eyes get tired.  Use a thick black pen and fill the boxes.
  • Provide only what is required. Don't fill the boxes with extra information.
  • Do not provide documentation that is not required for the application. Examples of what not to provide are letters of support from a superior or peer stating you are a great therapist. Only provide two Form G, "Recommendation" exactly as instructed. When the board is reviewing your application they are only concerned about whether you have met licensing requirements.
  • Frequent change of directed experience and supervisors is generally frowned upon. The fewer Form C and Form E, the better.
  • Check the board meeting schedule and submit your application two weeks prior. The board will likely review your application at that next board meeting, the three-member LPC Standards Committee will review it and the full board will vote and a few weeks afterward you should receive a letter from the Secretary of State board executive director with the decision.

Board Review and Outcome

The GA Composite Board of LPC SW and MFT does not pre-review applications. Questions about applications are generally not addressed via telephone. The applications are processed in the context of the official meetings. You must submit all required documents. If your application is denied you may appeal. You may also request a face to face meeting at the board offices in Macon GA. Use the meeting to clarify what the board may have missed in their review. Together, you can review again whether you have met GA LPC requirements. Remember: The GA Composite Board is overwhelmed with work so submit a clean and clear application. Best wishes. Some applications are complex. I provide consultation services and can often assist with sorting through unique situations.