Saturday, September 17, 2011

getting licensed in arkansas.

sometimes you hear people say, "when you have a dream, go for it. do anything you have to do to achieve that dream - no matter what it takes." i think a lot of people would reconsider the dream of becoming a counselor in the state of arkansas if they knew all the things involved in the licensing process :)

luckily, im almost near the end of this process... i got some great news today:

i passed my other national exam.

in order for you to understand where i am in this part of my journey of becoming a counselor, i think it's important to take you through it from the beginning!

first of all, you have to have a masters degree to even APPLY for licensing in the state of arkansas...
  1. so 1st, i got my bachelors degree in december of 2008.
  2. i graduated as the only summa cum laude of my class that year... i was very proud at being the "first" of my class.
  3. january of 2009, i was enrolled in grad school and ready to start a new degree.
  4. in arkansas, you can choose if you want to have an LPC or LMFT license... or in my case, you can choose to try for BOTH.
  5. each license requires specific classes ... for both of my licenses, i had to take 67 hours... or 23 classes. this took me from january 2009 to august 2011.
  6. in the midst of this degree, you have to take "practicum/internship" where you actually get to see clients for counseling (my favorite part!). over the course of 4 semesters, you have to achieve 500 hours of face-to-face client time, or about 8-10 hours a week.
  7. when you start your LAST semester of graduate school, you can apply to the arkansas state board to begin the licensing process. i tried to do this as fast as i could... knowing it would be complicated and drawn out.
  8. once the board receives your application (which must also include $200 for an "application fee"), they send you materials for you to get both state and federal background checks. i had to go to the police station and get fingerprinted and also get a notary to put the seal my documents.
  9. the board then gives you access to sign up for your national exams. these are the big time! i had to take two exams (one for each license i wanted)... and they cost a chunk of change! My NCE (for the LPC license) costs $165, and my MFT exam cost around $275. you can also add in costs for study materials, practice tests, and of course the TIME it took to study for such important tests!!
  10. i took my MFT exam in July of 2011... I just got the results today. I've literally been nervous to check the mail every day for the past 2 weeks!
  11. i took my NCE the first week of August... those results were immediate, and I found out i passed right after i took the exam.
  12. these results are sent to the state board, and they then set you up for the next part of the licensing process... once your application is complete.
  13. other things needed in the application:
  • statement of intent: basically, what theory of counseling i will use with client, what techniques i use, who i plan on seeing, what type of setting, etc
  • cleared background checks
  • letter from dean at university stating i will finish grad school this semester... THEN an official transcript showing i have completed my degree
  • wallet size photo
  • termination plan: who will take on my clients in case i die or become incapacitated

once ALL these things are turned it, cleared, and OK'ed... the board schedules you for an oral examination. this takes place in Little Rock, Arkansas in our state capitol building. the board only meets once a month -- so my best shot at getting in would be October (only a few weeks away!). at this oral exam, the board will ask me about my theory, techniques, ethics, and supervision.

oh yes, supervision.

once (hopefully) the board clears me after my oral exam (it's a pass/fail thing), i will be under "supervision." I will be an associate counselor/therapist until i have met the requirements for supervision. i have to attain a supervisor who also has both the LPC/LMFT licenses (very hard to find in my area) and pay them to be my supervisor. i will be in supervision for the first 3,000 hours i see clients after i get licensed. this usually takes 2-3 years... totaling supervision costs around $8,000 total.

supervision was not something i knew about going into this career. i actually didn't know about much of these requirements going into graduate school! haha i'm thankful i'm in this part of the process now... almost done but only beginning in many ways. there's my beautiful paradox again.

put a challenge in front of me, and i'll surely try to tackle it.

especially if i get the chance to help other people in the world.
especially if i feel like i'm serving God by doing it.
especially if it's what i think God wants me to do.

this has been one of the few experiences in life that i have no idea how ive gotten through SO much...

so many hoops
so many requirements
so many financial obligations
so many times away from people i love to do this
so many things

then i realize that it wasn't really me getting through anything. it was God placing me exactly where He wanted me to be.

with just enough hoops
just enough requirements
just enough financial obligation
just enough time away
just enough things

to bring Him glory.

im thankful.
carrie anne.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on passing your exams :) I had no idea it would be so involved to become a counselor! You have every right to be very proud of yourself!