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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXXII
REGULATION OF PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS
Chapter 491
CLINICAL, COUNSELING, AND PSYCHOTHERAPY SERVICES
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F.S. 491.005
491.005 Licensure by examination.
(1) CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK.Upon verification of documentation and payment of a fee not to exceed $200, as set by board rule, plus the actual per applicant cost to the department for purchase of the examination from the American Association of State Social Worker’s Boards or a similar national organization, the department shall issue a license as a clinical social worker to an applicant who the board certifies:
(a) Has submitted an application and paid the appropriate fee.
(b)1. Has received a doctoral degree in social work from a graduate school of social work which at the time the applicant graduated was accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education or has received a master’s degree in social work from a graduate school of social work which at the time the applicant graduated:
a. Was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education;
b. Was accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work; or
c. Has been determined to have been a program equivalent to programs approved by the Council on Social Work Education by the Foreign Equivalency Determination Service of the Council on Social Work Education. An applicant who graduated from a program at a university or college outside of the United States or Canada must present documentation of the equivalency determination from the council in order to qualify.
2. The applicant’s graduate program must have emphasized direct clinical patient or client health care services, including, but not limited to, coursework in clinical social work, psychiatric social work, medical social work, social casework, psychotherapy, or group therapy. The applicant’s graduate program must have included all of the following coursework:
a. A supervised field placement which was part of the applicant’s advanced concentration in direct practice, during which the applicant provided clinical services directly to clients.
b. Completion of 24 semester hours or 32 quarter hours in theory of human behavior and practice methods as courses in clinically oriented services, including a minimum of one course in psychopathology, and no more than one course in research, taken in a school of social work accredited or approved pursuant to subparagraph 1.
3. If the course title which appears on the applicant’s transcript does not clearly identify the content of the coursework, the applicant shall be required to provide additional documentation, including, but not limited to, a syllabus or catalog description published for the course.
(c) Has had at least 2 years of clinical social work experience, which took place subsequent to completion of a graduate degree in social work at an institution meeting the accreditation requirements of this section, under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker or the equivalent who is a qualified supervisor as determined by the board. An individual who intends to practice in Florida to satisfy clinical experience requirements must register pursuant to s. 491.0045 before commencing practice. If the applicant’s graduate program was not a program which emphasized direct clinical patient or client health care services as described in subparagraph (b)2., the supervised experience requirement must take place after the applicant has completed a minimum of 15 semester hours or 22 quarter hours of the coursework required. A doctoral internship may be applied toward the clinical social work experience requirement. A licensed mental health professional must be on the premises when clinical services are provided by a registered intern in a private practice setting.
(d) Has passed a theory and practice examination provided by the department for this purpose.
(e) Has demonstrated, in a manner designated by rule of the board, knowledge of the laws and rules governing the practice of clinical social work, marriage and family therapy, and mental health counseling.
(2) CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK.
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1)(b), coursework which was taken at a baccalaureate level shall not be considered toward completion of education requirements for licensure unless an official of the graduate program certifies in writing on the graduate school’s stationery that a specific course, which students enrolled in the same graduate program were ordinarily required to complete at the graduate level, was waived or exempted based on completion of a similar course at the baccalaureate level. If this condition is met, the board shall apply the baccalaureate course named toward the education requirements.
(b) An applicant from a master’s or doctoral program in social work which did not emphasize direct patient or client services may complete the clinical curriculum content requirement by returning to a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education or the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, or to a clinical social work graduate program with comparable standards, in order to complete the education requirements for examination. However, a maximum of 6 semester or 9 quarter hours of the clinical curriculum content requirement may be completed by credit awarded for independent study coursework as defined by board rule.
(3) MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY.Upon verification of documentation and payment of a fee not to exceed $200, as set by board rule, plus the actual cost to the department for the purchase of the examination from the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board, or similar national organization, the department shall issue a license as a marriage and family therapist to an applicant who the board certifies:
(a) Has submitted an application and paid the appropriate fee.
(b)1. Has a minimum of a master’s degree with major emphasis in marriage and family therapy, or a closely related field, and has completed all of the following requirements:
a. Thirty-six semester hours or 48 quarter hours of graduate coursework, which must include a minimum of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of graduate-level course credits in each of the following nine areas: dynamics of marriage and family systems; marriage therapy and counseling theory and techniques; family therapy and counseling theory and techniques; individual human development theories throughout the life cycle; personality theory or general counseling theory and techniques; psychopathology; human sexuality theory and counseling techniques; psychosocial theory; and substance abuse theory and counseling techniques. Courses in research, evaluation, appraisal, assessment, or testing theories and procedures; thesis or dissertation work; or practicums, internships, or fieldwork may not be applied toward this requirement.
b. A minimum of one graduate-level course of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours in legal, ethical, and professional standards issues in the practice of marriage and family therapy or a course determined by the board to be equivalent.
c. A minimum of one graduate-level course of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours in diagnosis, appraisal, assessment, and testing for individual or interpersonal disorder or dysfunction; and a minimum of one 3-semester-hour or 4-quarter-hour graduate-level course in behavioral research which focuses on the interpretation and application of research data as it applies to clinical practice. Credit for thesis or dissertation work, practicums, internships, or fieldwork may not be applied toward this requirement.
d. A minimum of one supervised clinical practicum, internship, or field experience in a marriage and family counseling setting, during which the student provided 180 direct client contact hours of marriage and family therapy services under the supervision of an individual who met the requirements for supervision under paragraph (c). This requirement may be met by a supervised practice experience which took place outside the academic arena, but which is certified as equivalent to a graduate-level practicum or internship program which required a minimum of 180 direct client contact hours of marriage and family therapy services currently offered within an academic program of a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency approved by the United States Department of Education, or an institution which is publicly recognized as a member in good standing with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada or a training institution accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education recognized by the United States Department of Education. Certification shall be required from an official of such college, university, or training institution.
2. If the course title which appears on the applicant’s transcript does not clearly identify the content of the coursework, the applicant shall be required to provide additional documentation, including, but not limited to, a syllabus or catalog description published for the course.

The required master’s degree must have been received in an institution of higher education which at the time the applicant graduated was: fully accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation; publicly recognized as a member in good standing with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada; or an institution of higher education located outside the United States and Canada, which at the time the applicant was enrolled and at the time the applicant graduated maintained a standard of training substantially equivalent to the standards of training of those institutions in the United States which are accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation. Such foreign education and training must have been received in an institution or program of higher education officially recognized by the government of the country in which it is located as an institution or program to train students to practice as professional marriage and family therapists or psychotherapists. The burden of establishing that the requirements of this provision have been met shall be upon the applicant, and the board shall require documentation, such as, but not limited to, an evaluation by a foreign equivalency determination service, as evidence that the applicant’s graduate degree program and education were equivalent to an accredited program in this country. An applicant with a master’s degree from a program which did not emphasize marriage and family therapy may complete the coursework requirement in a training institution fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education recognized by the United States Department of Education.

(c) Has had at least 2 years of clinical experience during which 50 percent of the applicant’s clients were receiving marriage and family therapy services, which must be at the post-master’s level under the supervision of a licensed marriage and family therapist with at least 5 years of experience, or the equivalent, who is a qualified supervisor as determined by the board. An individual who intends to practice in Florida to satisfy the clinical experience requirements must register pursuant to s. 491.0045 before commencing practice. If a graduate has a master’s degree with a major emphasis in marriage and family therapy or a closely related field that did not include all the coursework required under sub-subparagraphs (b)1.a.-c., credit for the post-master’s level clinical experience shall not commence until the applicant has completed a minimum of 10 of the courses required under sub-subparagraphs (b)1.a.-c., as determined by the board, and at least 6 semester hours or 9 quarter hours of the course credits must have been completed in the area of marriage and family systems, theories, or techniques. Within the 3 years of required experience, the applicant shall provide direct individual, group, or family therapy and counseling, to include the following categories of cases: unmarried dyads, married couples, separating and divorcing couples, and family groups including children. A doctoral internship may be applied toward the clinical experience requirement. A licensed mental health professional must be on the premises when clinical services are provided by a registered intern in a private practice setting.
(d) Has passed a theory and practice examination provided by the department for this purpose.
(e) Has demonstrated, in a manner designated by rule of the board, knowledge of the laws and rules governing the practice of clinical social work, marriage and family therapy, and mental health counseling.
(f) For the purposes of dual licensure, the department shall license as a marriage and family therapist any person who meets the requirements of s. 491.0057. Fees for dual licensure shall not exceed those stated in this subsection.
(4) MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING.Upon verification of documentation and payment of a fee not to exceed $200, as set by board rule, plus the actual per applicant cost to the department for purchase of the examination from the Professional Examination Service for the National Academy of Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselors or a similar national organization, the department shall issue a license as a mental health counselor to an applicant who the board certifies:
(a) Has submitted an application and paid the appropriate fee.
(b)1. Has a minimum of an earned master’s degree from a mental health counseling program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs that consists of at least 60 semester hours or 80 quarter hours of clinical and didactic instruction, including a course in human sexuality and a course in substance abuse. If the master’s degree is earned from a program related to the practice of mental health counseling that is not accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, then the coursework and practicum, internship, or fieldwork must consist of at least 60 semester hours or 80 quarter hours and meet the following requirements:
a. Thirty-three semester hours or 44 quarter hours of graduate coursework, which must include a minimum of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of graduate-level coursework in each of the following 11 content areas: counseling theories and practice; human growth and development; diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology; human sexuality; group theories and practice; individual evaluation and assessment; career and lifestyle assessment; research and program evaluation; social and cultural foundations; counseling in community settings; and substance abuse. Courses in research, thesis or dissertation work, practicums, internships, or fieldwork may not be applied toward this requirement.
b. A minimum of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of graduate-level coursework in legal, ethical, and professional standards issues in the practice of mental health counseling, which includes goals, objectives, and practices of professional counseling organizations, codes of ethics, legal considerations, standards of preparation, certifications and licensing, and the role identity and professional obligations of mental health counselors. Courses in research, thesis or dissertation work, practicums, internships, or fieldwork may not be applied toward this requirement.
c. The equivalent, as determined by the board, of at least 1,000 hours of university-sponsored supervised clinical practicum, internship, or field experience as required in the accrediting standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs for mental health counseling programs. This experience may not be used to satisfy the post-master’s clinical experience requirement.
2. If the course title which appears on the applicant’s transcript does not clearly identify the content of the coursework, the applicant shall be required to provide additional documentation, including, but not limited to, a syllabus or catalog description published for the course.

Education and training in mental health counseling must have been received in an institution of higher education which at the time the applicant graduated was: fully accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation; publicly recognized as a member in good standing with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada; or an institution of higher education located outside the United States and Canada, which at the time the applicant was enrolled and at the time the applicant graduated maintained a standard of training substantially equivalent to the standards of training of those institutions in the United States which are accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation. Such foreign education and training must have been received in an institution or program of higher education officially recognized by the government of the country in which it is located as an institution or program to train students to practice as mental health counselors. The burden of establishing that the requirements of this provision have been met shall be upon the applicant, and the board shall require documentation, such as, but not limited to, an evaluation by a foreign equivalency determination service, as evidence that the applicant’s graduate degree program and education were equivalent to an accredited program in this country.

(c) Has had at least 2 years of clinical experience in mental health counseling, which must be at the post-master’s level under the supervision of a licensed mental health counselor or the equivalent who is a qualified supervisor as determined by the board. An individual who intends to practice in Florida to satisfy the clinical experience requirements must register pursuant to s. 491.0045 before commencing practice. If a graduate has a master’s degree with a major related to the practice of mental health counseling that did not include all the coursework required under sub-subparagraphs (b)1.a.-b., credit for the post-master’s level clinical experience shall not commence until the applicant has completed a minimum of seven of the courses required under sub-subparagraphs (b)1.a.-b., as determined by the board, one of which must be a course in psychopathology or abnormal psychology. A doctoral internship may be applied toward the clinical experience requirement. A licensed mental health professional must be on the premises when clinical services are provided by a registered intern in a private practice setting.
(d) Has passed a theory and practice examination provided by the department for this purpose.
(e) Has demonstrated, in a manner designated by rule of the board, knowledge of the laws and rules governing the practice of clinical social work, marriage and family therapy, and mental health counseling.
(5) RULES.The board may adopt rules necessary to implement any education or experience requirement of this section for licensure as a clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, or mental health counselor.
History.ss. 15, 19, ch. 87-252; s. 37, ch. 88-205; s. 29, ch. 88-392; ss. 6, 19, 20, ch. 90-263; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 11, ch. 93-260; s. 31, ch. 94-310; s. 10, ch. 95-279; ss. 12, 13, ch. 97-198; ss. 204, 205, ch. 97-264; ss. 167, 168, ch. 99-397; s. 2, ch. 2016-80.