Rehabilitation Counselor License Requirements in New Mexico: Options

New Mexico rehabilitation counselors can be licensed as Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs).

In New Mexico, the LMHC is a transitional license, held by individuals who are working toward clinical licensure. The requirement is a master's degree. Counselors are licensed unless they fall under exemption categories identified in state statute (http://www.rld.state.nm.us/boards/Counseling_and_Therapy_Practice_Rules_and_Laws.aspx).

An individual with education as low as the baccalaureate level may be hired into a civil service position, but the stated preference is for master's education.

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Educational Requirements for State Licensure

A prospective licensee must earn a degree at the master's or doctoral level degree. The degree must be in counseling or a related field, as defined by the Board. The Board defines related field to include disciplines such as agency counseling, mental health community counseling, psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, and art therapy.

The degree program must include no fewer than 48 semester hours of coursework.

Each of the following must be represented by at least three semester hours:

  • Helping relationships
  • Human growth and development
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Career and lifestyle development
  • Group work
  • Appraisal
  • Research methods
  • Professional orientation

The program must include 12 semester hours of specialized clinical work. This includes content areas such as psychotherapy, case study, treatment planning, advanced training, and clinical supervision.

Additionally, the program must include 9 semester hours of practicum.

Examination Requirements for State Licensure

A licensee can expect to take two examinations en route to independent licensure. He or she will pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) en route to licensure as an LMHC (http://164.64.110.239/nmac/parts/title16/16.027.0009.htm). The National Clinical Mental health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) will be required at the LPCC level. Both examinations are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

New Mexico candidates must have their eligibility confirmed before they register with the NBCC. They will send the eligibility document to the NBCC along with the registration form and $195 examination fee. An approved candidate will receive an ATT within approximately four weeks. The candidate can schedule at the Albuquerque assessment center or at a Pearson Vue assessment center located in another state (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//NM). The New Mexico Board will receive test results directly from the examination company.

An individual may be issued a temporary license pending examination.

Supervised Practice Requirements for Licensure

Licensure as an LPCC is dependent on accruing at least 3,000 supervised professional experience hours; up to 1,000 client contact hours can be credited for practicum/ internship (http://164.64.110.239/nmac/parts/title16/16.027.0004.htm). The graduate must practice under supervision for at least two years. The New Mexico Board does not place a maximum time limit (http://164.64.110.239/nmac/parts/title16/16.027.0009.htm). However, the associate must be under supervision.

The supervisor must be a licensed mental health professional. Supervision is to follow standards described in administrative code.

The License Application Process

Prospective licensees must submit notarized applications. Application forms are available for download from the Board website (http://www.rld.state.nm.us/boards/Counseling_and_Therapy_Practice_Forms_and_Applications.aspx).

Education is documented at first application. Transcripts are to be included in sealed envelopes. Some applicants will need to include Attachment E along with syllabi/ course catalog descriptions.

An applicant at the LMHC level will need to provide a form to his or her supervisor; the supervisor will provide the necessary information and have the form notarized.

A small photograph is to be attached to the application. There is a nonrefundable $75 application fee.

Out-of-State Counselors

Experienced out-of-state counselors can, in some circumstances, be licensed by credential even if they do not meet the usual licensing standards. The out-of-state licensee must have held licensing for at least five years with no discipline during the prior five years. He or she must have a master's degree in counseling or an acceptable counseling-related field.

New Mexico Civil Service Positions

Civil service job classifications are described on the website of the New Mexico State Personnel Office (http://www.spo.state.nm.us/classification-descriptions.aspx).

The minimum qualification is a bachelor’s degree in a related social science field; preferred qualifications include a master’s degree and a year of experience. The degree may or may not be in vocational rehabilitation. The following degrees are referenced: guidance and counseling, psychology, sociology, special education, and social work.

Third Party Rehabilitation Counseling Certification

Adjunct national certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) is available through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. A counselor must meet prerequisites in order to test. The CRC is a master’s level credential. It is not necessary that the degree be in rehabilitation counseling, but an individual who holds a degree in counseling or other qualifying related field will need rehabilitation-related coursework as well as several years of work experience. An individual with a degree in a field such as rehabilitation administration or non-clinical social work will need to complete a 21-semester hour program; the requirements page includes a link to programs (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php).

Additional Information

The New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board can be reached by telephone at (505)-476-4622 or by email at 'counselingboard at state.nm.us'. Interested individuals can request placement on an email notification list (http://www.rld.state.nm.us/boards/Counseling_and_Therapy_Practice.aspx).

Professional associations include the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Association of New Mexico (http://www.psranm.com), the New Mexico Counseling Association (http://www.nmca-nm.org), and the New Mexico Career Development Association (http://www.careers-nm.org).

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