Read CCA’s proposed legislation by clicking the link below –
SIGNIFICANT STEP TOWARD
NOW WE NEED YOUR HELP
Dear CCA Members:
In an important step toward a major legislative goal, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Health Committee has “raised a concept” concerning tiered-licensure for counselors. Tiered-licensure – which has been a key CCA goal for several years and is the structure for counseling licensure in approximately forty other states – would allow recently graduated counselors to obtain a “first-level” license while working toward the 3000 hours of professional counseling experience currently needed to obtain the LPC license.
Tiered-licensure would be a significant advancement for the state’s counseling profession and would serve to keep counselors on an equal footing with other mental health professionals in the job market and in public awareness. Clients and other consumers of mental health services would also benefit from the protections that tiered-licensure would provide.
You may be familiar with the tiered-structure that Connecticut’s social workers have, in which they may obtain the LMSW while working toward the LCSW. CCA’s proposed legislation provides for a similar structure for professional counselors, using the designation Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) for the first (or entry) tier license. Indeed, the recent letter from the NASW-CT to numerous mental health agencies in which they highlighted the distinction between the license structures (and used that distinction to promote the hiring of social workers) was a factor in the Public Health Committee’s current recognition of the issue and willingness to raise a concept.
A copy of the proposed legislation is attached. CCA’s draft does not make obtaining the LPCA a mandatory step in the process of earning an LPC. Additionally, CCA does not envision that the LPCA would be a license to be held indefinitely; practitioners would be able to renew the LPCA only if they provided a supervisor’s verification that they were working toward the experience needed to achieve the LPC. A reminder that all of CCA’s proposed language is subject to revision as the process moves forward, but we will continue to push for adoption of our proposal, which has been considered at length by CCA’s leadership.
So, what are the next steps? This is where you come in. Even with this significant step of the “raised concept,” new legislation is not guaranteed. We need to educate legislators about the significant disadvantage that lack of tiered-licensure causes for counselors, and further need to anticipate concerns of the Department of Public Health regarding the fiscal impact of new legislation. (For the record, CCA believes that tiered-licensure would simply get counselors “into the system” at an earlier point than is the case now, resulting in no fiscal impact to DPH or the state.)
The Public Health committee will likely grant a hearing on this matter within the next several weeks of this shortened legislative session. While CCA leaders will be prepared to appear and testify in support of the proposed bill, written testimony from members regarding the benefits of tiered- licensure will be extremely important. In the next several days, CCA will prepare and send to members sample testimony with instructions as to how to submit it. Preparing written testimony is simple, takes little time and gives you a voice in this process.
We need you! Are you a counseling grad student? A recently graduated professional who is currently working toward licensure? An experienced professional who remembers the challenges of working in that unlicensed phase and experiencing the Catch-22 of losing out on positions because they required licensed professionals? We need you!
Please take a few moments to review the proposed legislation. If you have any questions, please contact CCA President Trip Hartigan (firstname.lastname@example.org). We welcome your feedback. Please also look for the email containing draft testimony and be prepared to submit it a soon as you can. Your CCA leaders continue to advocate for you and all of Connecticut’s counselors. Achieving tiered-licensure would be a significant win for all.
The CCA Executive Board