There are several requirements to be met in order to become a Licensed Professional Counselor / Mental Health Service Provider in Tennessee. One of these requirements is that you must clock a minimum of 3,000 post-graduate clinical hours (in an approved setting).
Make sure your work location qualifies
First, you must make sure that you're working in a place that would be considered an approved location. How do you know if your location would qualify? You must be working in a place that allows you to conduct clinical mental health counseling work with clients and has at least one licensed mental health clinician present on location at least 20 hours per week.
Two types of hours you need to track
So, what kinds of activities count toward licensure and how do you track the hours? Fortunately, there are only two main categories that you need to focus on when tracking hours:
Face to face clinical hours
Face to face clinical hours are pretty self-explanatory. These are hours that you would be working directly with clients to provide therapeutic counseling services. Examples of these hours include:
Clinically related activity hours
Clinically related activity hours can include a variety of tasks that you would be completing or participating in within a therapeutic work setting. Some examples include:
Count your supervision hours
Keep in mind that your clinical supervision hours apply toward the clinically related activity category. A total of 150 hours of supervision (minimum of 50 hours per year) are required for licensure as a LPC/MHSP, up to 50 of those total hours can be completed through group supervision.
The best practice during this process is to keep track of your hours on a weekly basis, if not daily. Doing this might seem like a pain in the rear but, trust me, you will be SO glad you did. You will be surprised how quickly these hours add up and to try and track on a monthly basis can feel daunting.
Start tracking right away
Often times people wait to track hours thinking it will be easy to add it up when they "get around to it." Remember, you are working, studying for board exams, living life, possibly raising children, etc... there is A LOT going on. Again, you will be surprised how quickly these hours add up!
Find a method that works for you
There is no "official" tracking form that you are required to use in this licensure process. When you are ready to apply for licensure, there will be a verification of hours form that is required as part of your application packet, where you will list your total hours in each of the two categories, as well as how many supervision hours you received.
Find a method that is easy to maintain. Some people write in their planners each week, others keep a journal or a spreadsheet and some keep track on their phones. If it is too complicated you won't want to keep up with it, that is just life. You don't need to itemize the activities each week, you just need to keep track of the two main categories listed above.
If you have any questions about tracking hours, or looking for a simple worksheet you can use to track on a weekly basis, feel free to contact me. I put together a very basic form you can print and use to track your licensure hours along the way.
Have a great Tuesday!