The Licensed Professional Counselor (LPCC) designation was created in 2016 through HB16-1103, the License Pathways For Mental Health Workforce bill. It is the intended pathway to licensure for those seeking to become a LPC.
Effective January 1, 2017, House Bill 16-1103 affects psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, and any other individual who is actively working toward licensure and is enrolled in a professional training program at an approved school. DORA supported the bill as part of its ongoing initiative to streamline the application process, reduce regulatory burden, and move qualified professionals into the workforce more quickly to increase access to mental health services.
A key component of the legislation clarifies that graduates must “have completed” their degrees (rather than "hold") in order to fulfill the educational requirements for licensure. This change will expedite the licensure process significantly. Often times, new graduates do not receive, or “hold” their actual degree certificate for many weeks after graduation. As a result, they must wait to apply, even if they have a job offer. With this change, applications can be submitted with an unofficial transcript or a letter from the academic program as soon as an applicant completes the requirements for a graduate program.
In addition, the bill seeks to clarify the recommended pathway a student should take for licensure in Colorado. For instance, the legislation clarifies that students participating in internships do not need to register with DORA as registered psychotherapists. However, as soon as they hold their degree, counseling students are encouraged to register as a LPCC, bringing them under the board that will ultimately govern their LPC. This type of clarification helps simplify the process and reduces the regulatory burden on students.
The bill was brought forward by the Colorado Counseling Association and the Colorado Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, with support from Mental Health Colorado, the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council, and other mental health professional associations. In addition, the bill received bipartisan, unanimous support in both the House and Senate.
The process of applying for your LPCC is completed online. To begin this process once the requirements are met, or to find our more information, click here.