Category Archives: ACA American Counseling Association

Pitfalls of Grandfathering in the New ACA Governing Council Plan

[Those who have not seen the ACA Governing Council meeting minutes endorsing CACREP-Only can find them here.]

We received the following excellent question back-channel from a concerned counselor:

“I read your ACA post with alarm this morning…  Maybe you can clarify a question: What would this ruling mean for someone like me, who has been licensed with an LPC since 1999, from a non CACREP school?.  Would I automatically be grandfathered in, or will I have to make up for any possible deficiencies with my school program, by 2020?”

Good question.  What it will MOST LIKELY mean, is that you will be grandfathered-in and not have to do any further training (not have to make up “deficiencies”).

We remain very alarmed because such a probable outcome does not mean those grandfathered-in are safe.  We just won’t know until events are gradually done to us over the years.

ACA is claiming in the governing council motions that non-CACREP counselors will be treated equally.  I hope so.

In a few of our recent postings we have pointed out instances of prominent CACREP-only communications defaming or at least indirectly implying inferiority of non-CACREP counselors.  This is a message that state boards, Congress, and the general public are being bombarded with.

In order for those grandfathered to remain equal and have fully empowered future careers the following needs to happen:

  • State licensing boards need to adopt the recommended grandfathering provisions exactly, and not something harsher. (Don’t forget they are getting the messaging that we are inferior.)
  •  State licensing boards requiring some sort of alternative licensing procedure for non-CACREP counselors need to NOT adopt requirements so gosh darn exact to CACREP that those non-CACREP counselors going through the procedure would have to redo training for trivial reasons (like redo internships because they were not broken into two components instead of one for example).
  • Portability between states would need to be possible for non-CACREP counselors, as opposed to us being stuck in the state where we managed to get grandfathered before 2020 or whenever.
  • AMHCA and other parties need to immediately quit efforts to get TRICARE, the VA, Medicare, and who knows what other government programs and insurance panels to adopt CACREP-only paneling standards.  If the squeeze is being put on non-CACREP counselors at the state licensing level (ACA wants CACREP-only after 2020 in state licensing) then approval for a state license needs to be the final standard for participating in Federal and other programs.  Having a state license is not very helpful if the non-CACREP counselor then gets blocked from TRICARE, VA, and maybe Medicare or elsewhere.  It’s not true grandfathering if your license is second-rate.
  • The messaging of non-CACREP is inferior needs to stop.  It will be increasingly impossible to control the fallout.  Who can blame the general public, Congress, state licensing boards, private insurance panels, etc. if they adopt less-than-enlightened policies to exclude non-CACREP counselors if they truly believe such to be inferior?  This will shortly no longer be under the control of our professional associations as the messaging will result in independent actions in the world-at-large.
  • Medicare (when we finally get authorization for it) needs to NOT have any CACREP-only language in it.  Private insurance companies often mimic Medicare standards.  This is truly what could kill non-CACREP counselors.  Imagine being a non-CACREP counselor 5-10 years from now and being stuck in one state (although you need to move) and only being able to take 1 or 2 remaining insurance panels while all of your CACREP peers are able to take all insurance panels, TRICARE, and Medicare.
  • If the nightmare of private insurance companies and Medicare having CACREP-only regulations does materialize, then non-CACREP counselors better become really good at solo private practice because employers will be hiring CACREP counselors even if we still have state licenses.

We can’t swear all of this dooms day stuff will happen.  But it’s not rocket science to see how it reasonably could.  Especially with “our” professional associations actively working against us.

Let’s also not forget about the dozens and dozens of master’s programs in counseling psychology being actively hounded out of existence.  Such is not okay and does not serve the “profession” (whatever that means anymore) and certainly does not serve the mental health needs of the public.  NBCC’s offer to help “counseling psychologists” (their term for master’s level counseling psychology graduates after 2020) get licensing from scratch in all 50 states is an absurd atrocity that would be amusing if it was not so sad.

The AMHCA Threat to TRICARE and Medicare Counselor Participation

Below is some sample language from what the North Carolina AMHCA state chapter is sending to their members.  Presumably some other AMHCA chapters are doing this as well?  Please note that non-CACREP counselors are being referred to here as “non-clinically trained”. Also please note the very strong connection being made to the push for Medicare recognition. It is abundantly clear that some elements of AMHCA intend to cut non-CACREP counselors out of Medicare (most likely with some grandfathering). Historically many private insurance panels tend to follow Medicare guidelines, so that is very bad news indeed if it happens.

Also below is text taken from a letter sent to Congress from one CACREP-only partisan. This is the kind of attitude problem that we face from their most strident supporters. It may be news to many of the non-CACREP counselors reading this message that you are not trained in the “art and science of Professional Counseling”, and that you are not amongst the “best amd [sic] most qualified counselors”. It is also implied that you may not even be “qualified”.

It is CRITICAL that counselors with a broader vision of professional counseling continue to write Congress urging that the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) include the House version of the language in HR 1735 expanding TRICARE provider eligibility.

Senators and members of Congress are most receptive to letters from their own constituents. You can find your representatives here: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/ Please include particulars about your own state (lack of CACREP programs, etc.)

The Congressional NDAA conference committee members reconciling the House and Senate versions of the bill can be emailed by sending your letters to the following distribution list: tricarecounseling@concernedcounselors.org – this is not an ordinary email address, it directly redistributes your email to the committee members.

The ACA has been supportive of the more inclusive House language. AMHCA has broken with ACA on this issue. However, what ACA has not done is send a mass email campaign out to all of its members urging letters of support for the inclusive House version of the NDAA TRICARE language. ACA is perfectly capable of doing this and does so relatively often. We need to urge ACA to take this step quickly. AMHCA (with roughly 7,000 or so members) should not be able to field a stronger membership lobbying campaign than the 55,000 member-strong ACA.

 

AMHCA NC Chapter — Quotes:

[Italics added]

“IMPORTANT NOTICEThere is a bill in the Senate that could put our chances to get Medicare recognition back years, possibly not until 2027, if then.  It was proposed by ACA without consultation with any other professional association.  It would allow non-clinically trained [at LPC level] counselors to become TRICARE counselors. This would all but eliminate any chance of our getting Medicare recognition.  We have not gotten Medicare recognition because there several states who license LPCs with much lower standards than NC, and this would only worsen that. This has serious implications for us in …”  

“The House passed HR1735, which contains Section 712, which reverses the gains we made in the TRICARE ruling in 2014 and moves them to 2027. The Senate version does not contain the wording of Section 712.  The bill will go into conference soon, if not already.  We need to contact Senators… and … and our Representatives to let them know this will seriously damage the quality of mental health services for our military.”  

 

CACREP-Partisan Letter to Congress – Quotes:

[Italics and bolding added]

“There are many who are writing you today and in the past who have been trained in mental health programs that are not professional counseling by training and not CACREP accredited. Many of these programs while well intentioned do not provide through training in the art and science of Professional Counseling.

CACREP affords veterans and their families the opportunity to have qualified trained counseling professionals to provide the many mental health counseling services they need. Individuals trained in other related professions, while licensed as professional counselors, are not trained in the art and science of professional counseling…”

“I am a member of the American Counseling Association and I do not support their position of a 10 year grandfathering period. As a professional counselor educator in a CAQCREP accredited program, I am concerned that the 10 year period indicates that there is no desire to ensure that veterans get the best amd most qualified counselors.

“Professional counseling is a unique profession that has its own accreditation standards in CACREP and it is important that counselors have that training to provide the best possible services to our veterans and their families.”

ACA Commits to CACREP-Only

The ACA governing council has officially committed to CACREP and only CACREP all the way.  ACA is also going to send Virginia a letter of support for their proposed new CACREP-only licensing regulations.

The only good news here is support for grandfathering thru 2020 and (somehow) trying to keep those of us grandfathered as treated equally into the future.  Nonetheless this is a direct threat to dozens and dozens of fine master’s level counseling psychology graduate programs, and so is not really acceptable.

~~~
ACA Governing Council Meeting

July 20-21, 2015

Motions

It was moved by P. Francis and seconded by T. Mitchell to approve the recommendations of the Awards Committee regarding the ACA Fellows Award program. Motion passed.

It was moved by K. Butler and seconded by G. Lawson for the Governing Council to endorse the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies. Motion passed.

It was moved by G. Lawson and seconded by P. Francis that to unify the professional identity of counselors, ACA endorses supports and advocates for graduation from a Counselor Education program accredited by CACREP/CORE as the pathway to licensure for independent practice.  Motion passed.

It was moved by S. Haberstroh and seconded by T. Mitchell that ACA, in all advocacy efforts related to licensure for independent practice, endorse licensed professional counselors (including comparable state counseling licenses), licensed on or before July 2020, as qualified independent practitioners with the same professional privileges and practice options as graduates from CACREP and CORE programs. Motion passes.

It was moved by G. Lawson and seconded by P. Francis that ACA shall, within its current legislative advocacy structure, endorse and will advocate for:

Standards that require graduation from a counselor preparation program accredited by CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP (e.g. CORE).

Students must demonstrate sufficient preparation in addressing clinical issues in order to be eligible for licensure for independent practice. In addition to concentration on Mental Health, psychological, and human development, this preparation shall include both coursework and practice in assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and clinical interventions for individuals with serious mental illnesses and/or serious emotional disturbances. Students must complete a practicum of at least 100 hours and an internship of at least 600 hours. Graduates from programs accredited by CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP (e.g. CORE) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Marriage Couple and Family Counseling, or Addictions Counseling are assumed to have met these clinical preparation requirements. Graduates of other CACREP or CORE tracks will need to demonstrate that they have met the clinical coursework requirements.

ACA will support and advocate for a liberal grandparenting period of seven (7) years after the adoption of this language in state regulations, whereby individuals who graduated from regionally accredited programs can still achieve licensure and regionally accredited program have sufficient time to pursue accreditation from CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP (e.g. CORE).

This advocacy will be included in the ACA Governmental Affairs Agenda as soon as is practicable.

Motion passed.

Letters Needed to Expand TRICARE Eligibility

The House and Senate will meet in conference shortly to work out differences to their versions of the National Defense Authorization Act.

We need language in The Special Rule adopted in H.R. 1735 would allow qualified mental health counselors who hold masters or doctoral degrees in counseling from institutions accredited by other than CACREP to receive TRICARE reimbursement for services provided to veterans and their families through 2027.

This language is not currently in the Senate version.

Letters sent to the following email address will distribute your letter to all the legislative directors serving the Congressmen and Senators involved in this process:

tricarecounseling@concernedcounselors.org

This is not a discussion list – it only exists for a short time in order to email the right Congressional senior staff.

Please consider using elements of the following modified letter which is written to a group rather than to individual members of Congress.

Letter to all legislative directors and their Senators and Congressmen

We strongly recommend that you modify this letter or write your own to include specific examples of how you have served military members, families, and veterans.  Personalize your story.

You are more than welcome to write individual members – please see our last post for the list of names and contacts, as well as an individual member letter format.

Thanks

Virginia Protest Letter Help File and Background

Your assistance is needed to defeat proposed CACREP-only regulations for Virginia licensing.  The Virginia Board has posted a NOIRA (Notice of Intended Regulatory Action) for public comment, after which it will likely issue new CACREP-only license regulations.

The purpose of the proposed regulation states: To require graduation from a clinically-focused counselor preparation program accredited by CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP that includes a minimum of 60 semester credits (90 quarter hour credits) of curricular experiences and a practicum of at least 100 hours and an internship of at least 600 hours.  Allow a grandfathering of programs that meet current requirements for seven years from the effective date of the regulations.

Virginia is a particularly vulnerable state because it has far more than usual CACREP accredited programs. There are a few carrots being thrown to the non-CACREP counselors.  One is the 7 year grandfathering period.  After which the doors will be slammed on non-CACREP counselors in the state.  Another is that apparently Virginia does have some sort of process for accepting non-CACREP counselors licensed in other states wishing to move to Virginia.   These carrots are helpful, but really only soften the blow that CACREP is being forced as the superior standard and only standard.  One is also left to wonder at what point the regs allowing out-of-state transfers with non-CACREP backgrounds will be tightened?

Suggested Letter Text:

Please write your own letters, and feel free to cut and paste selections from the suggestions below into your letters.

“Counseling” vs. “Counseling Psychology”

The NOIRA states: “In recent years, the Board of Counseling has worked towards greater professional identity for counseling to help the public understand the clinical services a licensed professional counselor is qualified to provide… the Board continues to review applications for licensure from students whose educational programs are not clearly “counseling” in their identity. The lack of clarity in its regulations has been frustrating for the Board and very problematic for some applicants who have obtained a post-graduate degree that may or may not qualify them for a residency and ultimately licensure”

This innocent-sounding section of the NOIRA appears like it is about professional identity and qualification for licensure.  It would actually seem to be about the ongoing crusade of CACREP advocates to forcibly excommunicate graduates of “counseling psychology” masters programs in favor of “counseling” masters program graduates. One of the primary problems with CACREP is the inability of counseling psychology programs to obtain accreditation under CACREP. The differences, if any, between “counseling psychology” and “counseling” programs quickly fall apart upon examination.  The theories and techniques of “the talking cure” are the same regardless of label.  Most counseling psychology programs utilize the ACA ethics code in coursework (and the APA code is not that different).  There may perhaps be a greater reliance upon testing and medical model in some counseling psychology programs (some would applaud this).  CACREP advocates would like the American Psychological Association (APA) to rescue masters-level counseling psychology graduates (they only license at the Ph.D. level).  Counseling psychology graduates have been licensed as professional counselors and members of the ACA since the beginning.  This is in part a ridiculous petty squabble between Ph.D. level counselor educators versus Ph.D. psychologists dating back decades. Regardless – from the point of view of the public good – this has absolutely nothing to do with competence or public safety, but has great potential to impact the numbers of available counselors.  Booting “counseling psychology” graduates out of the licensing pool for Virginia in no way helps Virginia! (It’s doubtful that even professional identity is seriously different as counseling psychology graduates have always considered themselves professional counselors.)

Factual Corrections to the NOIRA (NOIRA original text in italics.)

“CACREP was established in 1981 to achieve some consistency in counseling educational programs.”

– True.  CACREP spent much of its early history accrediting school counseling (school psychology at one point) and has only accredited larger numbers of mental health counseling programs recently.  In fact CACREP is still in the process of converting even CACREP-accredited 48-credit Community Counseling programs to their newer 60-credit CMHC standard (see http://www.cacrep.org/for-programs/ ).  The point being that when CACREP indirectly gives the impression that they are a very old and very established standard, this is not the case.

“CHEA recognition also assures the public that the programs that achieve CACREP accreditation are legitimate degree programs”

– The majority of non-CACREP programs in this country are also regionally accredited by CHEA and must maintain high quality standards.  This sentence implies that non-CACREP programs are usually not CHEA accredited and are illegitimate.

“One of the goals of CACREP is to establish a uniform set of educational requirements across the United States to facilitate portability of licensure from state to state.”

– True, but other methods of state-to-state portability would include an interstate agreement between the member Boards of AASCB, a simple choice to recognize out-of-state licensed counselors, or even CACREP-equivalent coursework and preparation.

“Three federal agencies have made graduation from a CACREP accredited program a requirement for independent practice in counseling.”

– This is not a reason to make the same mistake elsewhere.  Such requirements place a burden on counseling business owners and on clients who are looking for easy access to counselors in their communities.

“With a large military presence in Virginia, there is a need to equate graduation from a CACREP-accredited program with licensure to avoid public confusion and give licensees access to federal agencies.”

– This is exactly what should NOT happen for the good of both counselors and the public. Thousands of competent seasoned non-CACREP counselors throughout Virginia face increasing public confusion as to their competence.  A public which expects CACREP (despite no evidence of its superior quality) will start demanding CACREP and start discriminating against counselors without this accreditation in their past.  This will result in lack of employment for non-CACREP counselors even in situations where they are licensed and eligible to help with our burgeoning mental health community needs.  The likelihood of public confusion of CACREP with license eligibility and with competence is exactly why grandfathering provisions for non-CACREP counselors fall short of acceptable.

“The Board of Counseling has found that it has neither the resources nor the expertise to examine counseling programs across the country to assess the quality of the education in that program.”

– Plenty of Boards across the country do just this.  They typically require regional CHEA accreditation (for quality) and then require coursework in a variety or required categories.  Sometimes they choose to look for “CACREP-equivalency”.  When state Boards cede control of their standards to an outside entity they lose control over serving the needs of their state constituents.  Furthermore, several professions have two or more recognized accrediting authorities.  With variety comes a greater opportunity for a diversity of training to ensure a flexible and responsive (counseling) workforce for the unique needs of individual clients.  The Virginia Board might also avail itself of discussions amongst the various state Boards at the AASCB association – in which case it could at least have a strong voice in whatever national standards are enacted for standardization and license portability.

“Consistency and quality in educational preparation for professional counselors will provide greater assurance to clients seeking their services that they have been adequately prepared and appropriately licensed to protect public health and safety.”

– CACREP advocates have created a mostly false narrative of a public endangered by poor quality counselor preparation.  No doubt they can find isolated examples of such.  There is no epidemic of poor quality counselor preparation – controls and standards are already in place to protect the public without locking down the profession to one privately controlled gatekeeper.

Requested Public Participation in the NOIRA: The agency is seeking comments on this regulatory action, including but not limited to 1) ideas to be considered in the development of this proposal, 2) the costs and benefits of the alternatives stated in this background document or other alternatives and 3) potential impacts of the regulation. The agency is also seeking information on impacts on small businesses as defined in § 2.2-4007.1 of the Code of Virginia. Information may include 1) projected reporting, recordkeeping and other administrative costs, 2) the probable effect of the regulation on affected small businesses, and 3) the description of less intrusive or costly alternatives for achieving the purpose of the regulation.

Costs of the NOIRA proposal include the nearly $4500 in program application fees, and $2600+ annual maintenance fees charged to each CACREP accredited program (see http://www.cacrep.org/for-programs/cacrep-accreditation-fees/ ) which are paid for in some fashion by state school budgets, counseling students, and ultimately the public. Costs are also paid in terms of flexibility of curriculum in a field with MANY theories of psychology, loss of employment opportunities in CACREP programs for educators with slightly different qualified backgrounds than Ph.D.s in counselor education, and locking counseling psychology graduate students out of future licensure for no discernable reason related to competency to the public good. The future effects of CACREP on small businesses are murky and troubling. Many counselors in private practice are sole proprietors or at small clinics which would qualify as small businesses.  In the short-term under this proposal, these non-CACREP counselors will continue to be licensed and new graduates will be license-eligible until 2022.  However, the CACREP-only push creates a false perception of CACREP quality that is likely to impact these small businesses in the future.  The public may look for CACREP graduates in the false belief that they are more qualified.  Government programs (and private insurers?) may follow the bad TRICARE example and start requiring CACREP for licensure.  Employers may start only hiring CACREP graduates.  There is a potentially devastating longer term effect on small clinics and sole proprietors at risk of being cut out of the market. To the extent that non-CACREP counselors are cut out of the market, the public may experience counselor shortages or have to settle for newer counselors with less experience. Other Points: A careful look at the data will reveal that counselors who have graduated from CACREP programs are not more effective in their work with clients or in their service to their communities. A regulation limiting practice will not serve the people of Virginia well given that a majority of master’s level counselor training programs in the USA are not CACREP-accredited. A regulation limiting practice will not serve clients in Virginia given that the majority of currently practicing counselors graduated from schools free of CACREP accreditation. A restriction such as this would negatively impact current students and alumni from non-CACREP affiliated VA programs; negatively impact the public by reducing access to qualified counselors; negatively impact relocation of qualified and competent counselors from non-CACREP programs; reduce overall services available to VA residents; and increase cost of graduate education. Even the American Counseling Association (ACA), the largest national counseling association, opposes the CACREP-only restrictions highlighted in the rationale for this regulatory change. The people of Virginia need a strong Board that protects their rights to access quality mental health care.

Shouldn’t ACES Support All Counselors?

Shouldn’t ACES Support All Counselors?

Counselor Educators Should Lead Our Profession toward Inclusive and Creative Solutions for Ensuring Quality Training

On February 27, 2014, Dr. Robin Lee, President of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), issued a statement entitled “ACES’s Position on Educational Standards” that was widely circulated in counselor education circles.

The statement grew out of the “20/20 process” to envision the Counseling profession’s future, initiated by American Counseling Association (ACA) and American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB), and attempted to address one of its main concerns: the inconsistency in state requirements to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC).

In their statement, ACES advocated for uniform licensure standards (in both curriculum and field work) to support licensure portability and guarantee consistency of training. Specifically, they recommended, “Graduation from a clinically-focused counselor preparation program accredited by CACREP (or an approved affiliate of CACREP) that includes a minimum of 60 semester credits (or 90 quarter hour credits) of curricular experiences.  Within those 60 semester credits (or 90 quarter hour credits), students must complete a practicum of at least 100 hours and an internship of at least 600 hours.”

 Unfortunately, if implemented, this solution will disenfranchise the majority of licensed counselors and current students, since currently and historically a minority of counselors and graduate programs have been affiliated with CACREP. Contrary to their stated intention, the ACES proposal would actually diminish portability for the majority of the profession — all of those except CACREP graduates.

The ACES statement disregards the interests of counselors who did not graduate from CACREP schools. The anticipated harm to be experienced by these members of our profession is cast as inevitable in the interest of collective professional development:

“Moving toward a unified standard and licensure portability would represent major growth for the profession.  We also recognize that growth often involves loss, and this process may create challenges for individuals and programs as we try to move forward.”  http://www.concernedcounselors.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ACES-Position-on-Educational-Standards-for-Licensure.pdf

While ACES recommends “liberal grandfathering” language to allow licensure for graduates of CACREP-unaffiliated programs, grandfathering is not a long term solution for the many qualified training programs (and their graduates) that do not choose to become, and/or are not eligible for CACREP accreditation, because of CACREP’s narrowing scope of eligible programs, including the restriction that new core faculty members must hold counselor education degrees.

The Coalition of Concerned Counselors is disappointed that ACES does not support all counselors and all quality counselor preparation programs. The heart of the counseling profession is empathy, tolerance, and the creative development of solutions. There is a place in our profession for all counselors, CACREP and CACREP-unaffiliated, Counseling and Counseling Psychology; and the mission of our professional associations should be to find that inclusive place. The ACES position, when stripped of its patina of higher standards and consistency, argues that the majority of our profession should be marginalized and disenfranchised to allow a “uniformity” based on credentials of a minority to prevail.  

The great irony in this proposed solution is that licensure standards in many states, including Maryland, exceed (and have always exceeded) CACREP standards. (Maryland, for example, has always required 60 graduate credits, including at least one 3-credit course in each of 14 content areas, as opposed to the eight “core curricular” areas required by CACREP’s 2013 Clinical Mental Health Counseling standards).  A far more elegant and fair solution to the “uniformity problem” for current students and licensed clinicians alike would be for ACES to develop model licensure language based on that of states with the most comprehensive licensure requirements.

The Coalition of Concerned Counselors is not against CACREP standards, which have indeed provided important criteria for training in Counselor Education-based programs in a variety of specialties, including mental health counseling. We do object to using CACREP standards to narrow the opportunities of those from all other programs! 

A newly emergent set of standards (MCAC) developed for psychology-based LPC training programs, is comparable CACREP’s but includes additional training in biological foundations and social justice, and other program accreditations may well emerge as our profession continues to meet the complex mental health needs of a nation. No one of these training models should be touted as superior to another absent relevant sound research.   

Our profession strives for evidence-based interventions, and the accumulation of evidence on the relative strengths of different training models should be vigorously encouraged and supported by ACES.  In this way, we will deliver the highest level of care to the public.  Conversely, the public suffers when artificial barriers restrict access to mental health services and choice of practitioner.

In our opinion, state licensure and graduate program accreditation serve different functions and are best kept separate.  It is the responsibility of licensing boards to protect the public interest. In so doing, boards specify and enforce minimally required standards for practice.  It is the responsibility of researchers and educators to continuously develop and promote efficacious interventions and the highest standards for training.  It is important that these continuously evolve together, as new understandings of mental health needs emerge, and research accumulates on effective treatments.  To restrict or lock training programs into a single model, taught by faculty trained only in that model, will stifle diversity of perspectives, types of research, and the creativity that is necessary to the continued development of the profession.

Unlike psychologists and clinical social workers, LPCs graduate from a variety of regionally accredited masters and doctoral level programs leading to graduate degrees in counseling, clinical community counseling, clinical mental health counseling, counselor education, counseling psychology, school psychology, pastoral counseling, and rehabilitation counseling, among others.  These graduates are all eligible to apply for LPC licensure, but must meet a state’s uniform licensure standards.  Furthermore, professionals with a master’s degree in a different counseling specialty often later elect to become LPCs.  For example, many experienced school counselors go on to do additional training and become LPCs.  We believe that the public is well-served by this diversity of training and experience in the mental health counseling field, assuming that practitioners meet the requirements established legislatively by their respective states. It may be well and good for states to strive for national uniformity in their licensure standards, and this will likely facilitate portability, but the uniformity should occur at the level of licensure and not in a student’s original selection of the master’s program.  Licensure should be what unifies and identifies the mental health counseling profession.