A question students often ask in their last year of the Counseling program is “How do I get licensed?” This post will walk you through the process of obtaining your Limited License Professional Counselor (LLPC) license in the state of Michigan step by step with a time frame (other states may have variations):
TWO MONTHS BEFORE GRADUATION
Begin obtaining information on local counseling supervisors. The Michigan Association for Counselor Education and Supervision provides a short listing of supervisors on their website. You will also want to consult with your graduate school, local social services agencies and any friends in counseling you know.
Many supervisors only advertise by word of mouth, which can make them challenging to find. This is one of the reasons why you’ll want to start the search early!
Supervision times also vary. Some will have individual sessions for one hour per week; others will meet for two hours on a weeknight; still others will meet once per month for 4 hours on a weekend.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN CONSIDERING SUPERVISORS
- What type of experience am I looking for (e.g., group or individual)?
- Do I want someone who will walk me through each of my cases session by session or someone to just give me pointers when I get stuck?
- Would it be helpful to work with someone who will challenge me and broaden my perspective or would I like someone with the same style and mindset I have?
- What days and times are going to be most convenient for me?
QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL SUPERVISORS
- What counseling experience do you have?
- What types of clients do you typically work with?
- What is your theoretical orientation when working with clients?
- Do you have group or individual supervision?
- What is your rate/session?
- How often do you have supervision sessions?
I strongly encourage students to interview 3-4 supervisors by phone or in person. You will spend 100 hours of your time being shaped and molded by this person. You want to make sure he/she is a good fit for your counseling style and professional needs.
ONE MONTH BEFORE GRADUATION
Write a Professional Disclosure Statement. This may or may not be a document you have from your graduate program. If not, let’s get started…
Your Professional Disclosure Statement (PDS) is your resume, biography, and informed consent for counseling. Many samples are available online, but each PDS is unique. It describes what the counseling relationship will be like with you!
REQUIRED INFORMATION FOR A PDS
- Full Name
- Business name or place of service (If you do not have a counseling practice or agency yet, that’s okay! Use your home information just to get started with the supervision hours and licensure. Find a job or start a practice along the way and update your PDS for the state.)
- Contact information
- Description of education and experience
- Description of your practice
- Fee structure
- Supervisor Information
- Explanation of filing a complaint
OTHER INFORMATION TO CONSIDER ADDING
- Introductory information about you
- Areas of specialization or types of clients you want to specialize with
- Risks/benefits of counseling
- Alternatives to counseling
- Confidentiality information
- Process of ending the counseling relationship
- Length of the counseling relationship
- Cancellation policy
Once you have a draft of your PDS complete, have 2-3 other individuals proofread it and provide feedback. Pass this along to your supervisor for his/her signature.
ONE WEEK BEFORE GRADUATION
Download the Counselor-Full/Limited Application Packet from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
- Read pages 1-5
- Fill out pages 6-8 with your information
- Fill out page 9 with your contact information and educational program information. Print your name at the top of page 10.
- Provide pages 9 and 10 to the Director/Head of your Counseling Program. He or she will complete it and mail it in to the State of Michigan for you.
- Discard pages 11-12. They are only used when you apply for your full LPC license.
- Pages 13-15 provide information for the National Counselor Examination. Select an exam date, typically 1-3 months out and register for the exam! You have up to 10 years to pass the exam. However, I always recommend taking it as soon as possible.
- The exam covers content from your years in graduate school. The longer you wait, the more you’ll have to study!
- Mail in pages 6-8 of the application, a check for $115 made out to the “State of Michigan,” and your Professional Disclosure Statement (signed by the supervisor you hired).
FIRST WEEK AFTER GRADUATION
Complete a Transcript Request Form for your school and have your transcript mailed to the State of Michigan, as indicated in the licensure application packet. Indicate on the form that the school should not mail the transcript until “after degree is posted.”
SECOND WEEK AFTER GRADUATION
The State of Michigan will mail you a Customer ID number and an Application Confirmation letter. This is sent as soon as your license application and fee are processed.
Upon receipt of a Customer ID number, schedule a time to be finger printed. The State of Michigan works with Identogo. Bring your fingerprint application with you when you go. They will send your fingerprints to the Board of Counseling for you.
This completes your application for the LLPC! It should take 4-6 weeks for your license to come in the mail. You need to wait until you have your license before you begin practicing.