Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
4/12/2024

Part II. Requirements for Licensure As a Professional Counselor

18VAC115-20-40. Prerequisites for licensure by examination.

Every applicant for licensure examination by the board shall:

1. Meet the degree program requirements prescribed in 18VAC115-20-49, the coursework requirements prescribed in 18VAC115-20-51, and the experience requirements prescribed in 18VAC115-20-52;

2. Pass the licensure examination specified by the board;

3. Submit the following to the board:

a. A completed application;

b. Official transcripts documenting the applicant's completion of the degree program and coursework requirements prescribed in 18VAC115-20-49 and 18VAC115-20-51. Transcripts previously submitted for board approval of a resident license do not have to be resubmitted unless additional coursework was subsequently obtained;

c. Verification of supervision forms documenting fulfillment of the residency requirements of 18VAC115-20-52 and copies of all required evaluation forms, including verification of current licensure of the supervisor if any portion of the residency occurred in another jurisdiction;

d. Verification of any other mental health or health professional license or certificate ever held in another jurisdiction;

e. The application processing and initial licensure fee as prescribed in 18VAC115-20-20; and

f. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB); and

4. Have no unresolved disciplinary action against a mental health or health professional license or certificate held in Virginia or in another jurisdiction. The board will consider history of disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-3505 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-02 § 2.1, eff. July 6, 1988; amended, Virginia Register Volume 5, Issue 24, eff. September 27, 1989; Volume 7, Issue 14, eff. May 8, 1991; Volume 9, Issue 25, eff. October 6, 1993; Volume 13, Issue 25, eff. August 7, 1997; Volume 16, Issue 13, eff. April 12, 2000; Errata, 16:16 VA.R. 2081 April 24, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 1, eff. October 14, 2009; Volume 30, Issue 19, eff. July 3, 2014; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 24, 2016; Volume 37, Issue 20, eff. June 23, 2021.

18VAC115-20-45. Prerequisites for licensure by endorsement.

A. Every applicant for licensure by endorsement shall hold or have held a professional counselor license in another jurisdiction of the United States and shall submit the following:

1. A completed application;

2. The application processing fee and initial licensure fee as prescribed in 18VAC115-20-20;

3. Verification of all mental health or health professional licenses or certificates ever held in any other jurisdiction. In order to qualify for endorsement the applicant shall have no unresolved action against a license or certificate. The board will consider history of disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis;

4. Documentation of having completed education and experience requirements as specified in subsection B of this section;

5. Verification of a passing score on an examination required for counseling licensure in the jurisdiction in which licensure was obtained;

6. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB); and

7. An affidavit of having read and understood the regulations and laws governing the practice of professional counseling in Virginia.

B. Every applicant for licensure by endorsement shall meet one of the following:

1. Educational requirements consistent with those specified in 18VAC115-20-49 and 18VAC115-20-51 and experience requirements consistent with those specified in 18VAC115-20-52;

2. If an applicant does not have educational and experience credentials consistent with those required by this chapter, he shall provide:

a. Documentation of education and supervised experience that met the requirements of the jurisdiction in which he was initially licensed as verified by an official transcript and a certified copy of the original application materials; and

b. Evidence of post-licensure clinical practice in counseling, as defined in § 54.1-3500 of the Code of Virginia, for 24 of the last 60 months immediately preceding his licensure application in Virginia. Clinical practice shall mean the rendering of direct clinical counseling services or clinical supervision of counseling services; or

3. In lieu of transcripts verifying education and documentation verifying supervised experience, the board may accept verification from the credentials registry of the American Association of State Counseling Boards or any other board-recognized entity.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 13, eff. April 12, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 24, eff. September 3, 2008; Volume 25, Issue 20, eff. July 23, 2009; Volume 26, Issue 1, eff. October 14, 2009; Volume 30, Issue 19, eff. July 3, 2014; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 24, 2016.

18VAC115-20-49. Degree program requirements.

A. The applicant shall have completed a graduate degree from a program that prepares individuals to practice counseling as defined in § 54.1-3500 of the Code of Virginia, is offered by a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting agency, and meets the following criteria:

1. There must be a sequence of academic study with the expressed intent to prepare counselors as documented by the institution;

2. There must be an identifiable counselor training faculty and an identifiable body of students who complete that sequence of academic study; and

3. The academic unit must have clear authority and primary responsibility for the core and specialty areas.

B. Programs that are approved by CACREP or CORE are recognized as meeting the requirements of subsection A of this section.

C. Graduates of programs that are not within the United States or Canada shall provide documentation from an acceptable credential evaluation service that provides information that allows the board to determine if the program meets the requirements set forth in this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 13, eff. April 12, 2000; Errata, 16:16 VA.R. 2081 April 24, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 19, eff. July 3, 2014; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 24, 2016; Volume 36, Issue 12, eff. March 4, 2020.

18VAC115-20-50. [Expired].

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-02 § 2.2, eff. July 6, 1988; amended, Virginia Register Volume 5, Issue 24, eff. September 27, 1989; Volume 7, Issue 14, eff. May 8, 1991; Volume 9, Issue 25, eff. October 6, 1993; Volume 13, Issue 25, eff. August 7, 1997; Volume 16, Issue 13, eff. April 12, 2000; expired, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 13, eff. April 12, 2002.

18VAC115-20-51. Coursework requirements.

A. The applicant shall have successfully completed 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of graduate study in the following core coursework with a minimum of three semester hours or 4.0 quarter hours in each of subdivisions 1 through 12 of this subsection:

1. Professional counseling identity, function, and ethics;

2. Theories of counseling and psychotherapy;

3. Counseling and psychotherapy techniques;

4. Human growth and development;

5. Group counseling and psychotherapy theories and techniques;

6. Career counseling and development theories and techniques;

7. Appraisal, evaluation, and diagnostic procedures;

8. Abnormal behavior and psychopathology;

9. Multicultural counseling theories and techniques;

10. Research;

11. Diagnosis and treatment of addictive disorders;

12. Marriage and family systems theory; and

13. Supervised internship of at least 600 hours to include 240 hours of face-to-face client contact. Only internship hours earned after completion of 30 graduate semester hours may be counted towards residency hours.

B. If 60 graduate hours in counseling were completed prior to April 12, 2000, the board may accept those hours if they meet the regulations in effect at the time the 60 hours were completed.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 13, eff. April 12, 2002; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 24, eff. September 3, 2008; Volume 30, Issue 19, eff. July 3, 2014; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 24, 2016.

18VAC115-20-52. Resident license and requirements for a residency.

A. Resident license. Applicants for temporary licensure as a resident in counseling shall:

1. Apply for licensure on a form provided by the board to include the following: (i) verification of a supervisory contract, (ii) the name and licensure number of the clinical supervisor and location for the supervised practice, and (iii) an attestation that the applicant will be providing clinical counseling services;

2. Have submitted an official transcript documenting a graduate degree that meets the requirements specified in 18VAC115-20-49 to include completion of the coursework and internship requirement specified in 18VAC115-20-51;

3. Pay the registration fee;

4. Submit a current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB); and

5. Have no unresolved disciplinary action against a mental health or health professional license, certificate, or registration in Virginia or in another jurisdiction. The board will consider the history of disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis.

B. Residency requirements.

1. The applicant for licensure as a professional counselor shall have completed a 3,400-hour supervised residency in the role of a professional counselor working with various populations, clinical problems, and theoretical approaches in the following areas:

a. Assessment and diagnosis using psychotherapy techniques;

b. Appraisal, evaluation, and diagnostic procedures;

c. Treatment planning and implementation;

d. Case management and recordkeeping;

e. Professional counselor identity and function; and

f. Professional ethics and standards of practice.

2. The residency shall include a minimum of 200 hours of in-person supervision between supervisor and resident in the consultation and review of clinical counseling services provided by the resident. Supervision shall occur at a minimum of one hour and a maximum of four hours per 40 hours of work experience during the period of the residency. For the purpose of meeting the 200-hour supervision requirement, in-person may include the use of secured technology that maintains client confidentiality and provides real-time, visual contact between the supervisor and the resident. Up to 20 hours of the supervision received during the supervised internship may be counted toward the 200 hours of in-person supervision if the supervision was provided by a licensed professional counselor.

3. No more than half of the 200 hours may be satisfied with group supervision. One hour of group supervision will be deemed equivalent to one hour of individual supervision.

4. Supervision that is not concurrent with a residency will not be accepted, nor will residency hours be accrued in the absence of approved supervision.

5. The residency shall include at least 2,000 hours of face-to-face client contact in providing clinical counseling services. The remaining hours may be spent in the performance of ancillary counseling services.

6. A graduate-level internship in excess of 600 hours, which was completed in a program that meets the requirements set forth in 18VAC115-20-49, may count for up to an additional 300 hours toward the requirements of a residency.

7. Supervised practicum and internship hours in a CACREP-accredited doctoral counseling program may be accepted for up to 900 hours of the residency requirement and up to 100 of the required hours of supervision provided the supervisor holds a current, unrestricted license as a professional counselor.

8. The residency shall be completed in not less than 21 months or more than four years. Residents who began a residency before August 24, 2016, shall complete the residency by August 24, 2020. An individual who does not complete the residency after four years shall submit evidence to the board showing why the supervised experience should be allowed to continue. A resident shall meet the renewal requirements of subsection C of 18VAC115-20-100 in order to maintain a license in current, active status.

9. The board may consider special requests in the event that the regulations create an undue burden in regard to geography or disability that limits the resident's access to qualified supervision.

10. Residents may not call themselves professional counselors, directly bill for services rendered, or in any way represent themselves as independent, autonomous practitioners or professional counselors. During the residency, residents shall use their names and the initials of their degree, and the title "Resident in Counseling" in all written communications. Clients shall be informed in writing that the resident does not have authority for independent practice and is under supervision and shall provide the supervisor's name, professional address, and phone number.

11. Residents shall not engage in practice under supervision in any areas for which they have not had appropriate education.

12. Residency hours approved by the licensing board in another United States jurisdiction that meet the requirements of this section shall be accepted.

C. Supervisory qualifications. A person who provides supervision for a resident in professional counseling shall:

1. Document two years of post-licensure clinical experience;

2. Have received professional training in supervision, consisting of three credit hours or 4.0 quarter hours in graduate-level coursework in supervision or at least 20 hours of continuing education in supervision offered by a provider approved under 18VAC115-20-106; and

3. Hold an active, unrestricted license as a professional counselor or a marriage and family therapist in the jurisdiction where the supervision is being provided. At least 100 hours of the supervision shall be rendered by a licensed professional counselor. Supervisors who are substance abuse treatment practitioners, school psychologists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, or psychiatrists and have been approved to provide supervision may continue to do so until August 24, 2017.

D. Supervisory responsibilities.

1. Supervision by any individual whose relationship to the resident compromises the objectivity of the supervisor is prohibited.

2. The supervisor of a resident shall assume full responsibility for the clinical activities of that resident specified within the supervisory contract for the duration of the residency.

3. The supervisor shall complete evaluation forms to be given to the resident at the end of each three-month period.

4. The supervisor shall report the total hours of residency and shall evaluate the applicant's competency in the six areas stated in subdivision B 1 of this section.

5. The supervisor shall provide supervision as defined in 18VAC115-20-10.

E. Applicants shall document successful completion of their residency on the Verification of Supervision Form at the time of application. Applicants must receive a satisfactory competency evaluation on each item on the evaluation sheet. Supervised experience obtained prior to April 12, 2000, may be accepted toward licensure if this supervised experience met the board's requirements that were in effect at the time the supervision was rendered.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-3505 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 13, eff. April 12, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 24, eff. September 3, 2008; Volume 30, Issue 19, eff. July 3, 2014; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 24, 2016; Volume 36, Issue 2, eff. October 16, 2019; Volume 37, Issue 20, eff. June 23, 2021.

18VAC115-20-60. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-02 § 2.3, eff. July 6, 1988; amended, Virginia Register Volume 5, Issue 24, eff. September 27, 1989; Volume 7, Issue 14, eff. May 8, 1991; Volume 9, Issue 25, eff. October 6, 1993; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 13, eff. April 12, 2000.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.