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Licensure & Certification

Licensure can be pretty confusing so we hope in some way we can help solve the mystery of the "path to licensure". We'll start step by step with Peer Recovery Supporter and go all the way up to PhD. Choosing this career path can be very rewarding but confusing. We're here to mentor you every step of the way, and help however we can! 

So You Want to be a Therapist

Who are the People Doing Clinical Work?

Lets begin with all of the letters you should know in order that you can make an informed decision about which certification, degree or licensure to pursue. Note that pay range is included, we wanted you to know that not only is the career rewarding but it can also be, financially, a good decision. Experience and intention to get more training (move up the degree ladder) in the field will make a difference. 


Please note, while this can serve as a guide to all of the clinical career paths, please  check your state requirements listed in BHU. Letters may vary slightly and requirements for certification and licensure may also differ from what is posted here. As you can see, there are a lot of ways for you to become a counselor and join the field of helping people. 


Individuals with lived experience, start with Peer Supporter. Lived experience is one of the most valuable things that you can bring into the field. There’s no way to learn what you know from the inside of a book. Even if you have a Felony charge, there is a way for you to become us! Don’t give up on yourself and think you can’t because OOOOHHHH yes you can and we need you!’


Finally, the pay rate you see below is typical if you work in an agency for someone else. Once you have achieved Independent licensure status however, and you choose to go into private practice, your pay rises dramatically to an average of $75 to $170 an hour.




Types of Mental Health Professionals | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Interstate Licensure Compact Information For Social Workers

Interstate Licensure Compact Information for LPC's

Interstate Licensure Compact for Psychologists

Interstate License Compact for MFT's- none for MFT's, the focus is on reciprocity

Social Worker reciprocity by state

Licensed Counselor reciprocity by state

MFT reciprocity by state

Psychologist reciprocity by state





  • Verbal de-escalation of an agitated patient

  • How to de-escalate someone

  • Understanding Agitation: De-escalation

  • The Embody Lab

  • CPI


Continuing Education Resources:


State Associations:


Peer Recovery Supporter

State-by-State Directory of Parent Peer Support Training and Certification Programs

Ohio Peer Supporter Training

Criminal Background Check

40 hour peer supporter training

OHMAS Contact: 614-466-2596

  • PRS: Peer Recovery Supporter \~ pay $15-25 

  • PRSS: Peer Recovery Supporter Supervisor \~ pay $20-40 

Qualified behavioral health Specialist

Ohio Revised Code Rule 5122-29-30 - Ohio Administrative Code

  • QBHS High School diploma required) \~ pay $15-20 

  • QBHS (3 yrs+ Exp. required) \~ pay $18-30 

  • QBHS  (Associates degree required) \~ pay $18-22 

  • QBHS (Bachelor’s degree required) \~ pay $18-26 

  • QBHS (Master's degree required) \~ pay $18-40 


Chemical Dependency Counselor

Ohio Board Link

National Board Link

  • CDCA: Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant \~ $18-22 

  • LCDC: Licensed Chemical dependency Counselor \~ $18-25

  • LCDC II: Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor \~ $18-27

  • LCDC III: Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor \~ $18-30

  • LICDC: Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor \~ $25-35

  • LICDC-S: Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor- Supervisor \~ $25-40

  • Private Practice Independent Practitioner: $75-250/hr.


Social Worker

Social Work

Ohio Board Link

National Board Link

Ohio CSWMFT Board Laws & Rules Video

  • SWA: Social Worker Assistant, Associates/ Bachelors Degree \~ $18-22

  • SW-T: Social Worker Trainee; Associates/ Bachelors Degree \~ pay $18-22

  • LSW: Licensed Social Worker; Bachelors of Social Work Degree) \~ pay $18-26

  • MSW: Master of Social Work (Masters of Social Work Degree)  \~  $25-35

  • LISW: Licensed independent Social Worker \~ $25-40  

  • LISW-S: Licensed Independent Social Worker Supervisor \~  $25-50

  • Private Practice Independent Practitioner: $75-250/hr.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Ohio Board Link

National Board Link

  • MFT-T: Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee  \~ pay $18-22

  • MFT: Marriage and Family Therapist \~ pay $18-26

  • IMFT: Independent Marriage and Family Therapist \~ $25-40

  • IMFT-S: Independent Marriage and Family Therapist- Supervisor \~  $25-50

  • Private Practice Independent Practitioner: $75-250/hr.

Licensed Professional Counselor

Ohio Board Link

National Board Link

  • C-T: Counselor Trainee \~ pay $18-22

  • LPC: Licensed Professional Counselor \~ pay $18-26

  • LPCC: Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor \~ $25-40

  • LPCC-S: Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Supervisor  \~ $25-50

  • LMHC: Licensed Mental Health Counselor \~ $25-40

  • Private Practice Independent Practitioner: $75-250/hr.

Helpful Links: 

Ohio Counseling Association


  • PhD: Doctor of Philosophy \~ $100-200

  • DSW: Doctor of Social Work \~ $100-200

  • PsyD Doctor of Psychology \~ $100-200

  • DMFT: Doctor of Marriage & Family Therapy \~ $100-200

  • MD/DO: Clinical Psychiatrist \~ $200-300​


Here we will illustrate the path to Peer Supporter. It's the beginning of the path to licensure that is easily accessible to individuals in recovery working toward becoming practitioner. You are valuable, you are needed, we thank you for choosing to be a part of the recovery solution!

Credentials & average pay:

  • PRS: Peer Recovery Supporter ~ pay $15-25

  • PRSS: Peer Recovery Supporter Supervisor ~ pay $20-40


What does a peer supporter do?

Peer support workers are people who have been successful in the recovery process who help others experiencing similar situations. Through shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment, peer support workers help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment of those seeking a successful, sustained recovery process (SAMHSA, 2022).


Peer support workers engage in a wide range of activities including:

  • Advocating for people in recovery

  • Sharing resources and building skills

  • Building community and relationships *

  • Leading recovery groups

  • Mentoring and setting goal

  • Providing services and/or training

  • Supervising other peer workers

  • Developing resources

  • Administering programs or agencies

  • Educating the public and policymakers (SAMHSA, 2022).


How to become a peer recovery supporter:


National Peer Support Directories:


Warm Line: 

A Warmline is a peer-run hotline that offers callers emotional support and is staffed by volunteers who are in recovery themselves. Link: e-WarmLine-Directory-3-11-20.pdf 


Peer Recovery Ohio:


Mental Health/ Addiction:

Peer Supporters | Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services


Adult Peer Supporter:

Become an Adult Peer Supporter | Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services


Family Peer Supporter:

Become a Family Peer Supporter | Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Youth Peer Supporter

e-Based Academy Courses:

eBased Academy Courses | Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

EBased Direct Link


Live PRS Training:

40-hour Peer Recovery Supporter Training | Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services


Helpful Links:

Qualified Behavioral Health Specialist (QBHS) Previously QMHS

  • QBHS High School diploma required~ pay $15-20

  • QBHS (3 yrs+ Exp. required~ pay $18-30

  • QBHS  (Associates degree required~ pay $18-22

  • QBHS (Bachelor’s degree required~ pay $18-26

  • QBHS (Master's degree required~ pay $18-40


Qualified behavioral health specialist (QBHS) is  an individual who has received training for or education in either mental health or substance use disorder competencies; and who has demonstrated the minimum competencies in basic mental health or substance use disorder and recovery skills listed in this rule (ORC 5122-29-30). 

Certified Agencies have the ability to provide training and competencies to employees. Training for employees is required by the agency, it is an agency designation and does not follow the employee.

  • Designated by the agency

  • No Application or certification

  • Keep records until medicaid renewal

  • Contract/ register with medicaid?

  • Requirements and Procedures for Behavioral Health Services

  • Ohio Revised Code Rule 5122-29-30 - Ohio Administrative Code

Types of Mental Health professionals

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Before you Begin: Blog Link 

  1. Complete all of the necessary requirements to become licensed in one state. This is ideal because if you start your clinical experience and supervision in one state and then move BEFORE you finish, this whole process becomes even more complicated.

  2. Keep good records. Keep a log of your clinical experience and hours of supervision (some states will want to see more detailed information about what you were doing and how you accumulated your hours. Make sure you have your clinical supervisors full name, license number, date of licensure and up-to-date contact information at all times.

  3. BEFORE YOU MOVE – Contact the Licensure Board in the state that you are planning to move to and get the application. You will typically be looking for an “Application By Endorsement” or “Application from Out of State Licensee”.

  4. Be prepared to call a lot! It can be difficult to get a live person on the phone. But, if you do, get their direct extension! You need a live, local person to help you. They will know the answers to your questions.

  5. Start requesting documents. Typically, you will have to resend (which means pay for) your graduate school transcripts, your ASBW test scores, and a license verification form from your current state. This is the annoying part. This will probably cost you anywhere from $20-$75 or more and will have to be done every time you want to get licensed in a new state. Ugh! The ASWB does have a Registry which will hold all of your documents and send to them to the new state. But again, this has a hefty $60 fee plus annual renewals.

  6. Contact your old supervisor. Depending on how long you have been licensed in your current state, you will probably need a signature from your previous supervisor to testify to your clinical experience and supervision hours. If that person is MIA or deceased, then you have more work to do. But, it can still be done.

  7. Figure out if you have to take any additional continuing education courses. Each state has their own courses that are required for licensure. In Florida, there is “Laws and Rules” and “Medical Errors”. In other states, it might be “Child Abuse Reporting”. Find out what you need and get certificates for any of those courses. Herein lies another set of fees!

  8. Fill out all of the forms. Many require notarized signatures on at least one page and some require a passport style photo. Again, here are some annoying fees, unless your bank does free notary service. Don’t forget to make copies of the forms. It is quite possible that somehow, one of those pages will get lost or separated and that sends your application to the start-over pile.

  9. Pay the fees. Usually there is an application fee that is at least $100-$150.

  10. Wait! And wait! And wait. Some states may respond quickly, but for others, there are review boards that only meet quarterly. It is helpful to know when they meet, so you can get your application before the deadline.

Social Work 


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Medical License Reciprocity: 
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5 steps transferring my LPC license to another state (blog link)
Step-by-Step Guide To Finding LPC Endorsement Requirements and Rules (Link)
LPC Reciprocity: 

LPC Licensing Reciprocity by State

MFT Reciprocity: 
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