Apply Yourself: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting LPC Candidacy
Pictured above: a therapist sits typing on a laptop
Graduate school may be over, but there's still much to do to before recent grads can start practicing as a therapist in Oklahoma. So here's a helpful checklist for graduates to make sure they are on their way to candidacy.
Submit OFFICIAL Transcripts
Applicants must submit final official graduate school transcripts showing a completed degree as part of the LPC candidacy application. These transcripts may not be available until up to 2 weeks after graduation. Information on submitting the official transcripts can be found in the Initial Application Portal on the Board of Behavioral Health website.
Pass the OLERE
All applicants must pass the Oklahoma Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination before being approved for LPC candidacy in Oklahoma. Click here for more information on preparing for the OLERE.
Submit the OSBI Background Check Form
It is also a requirement to submit the OSBI background check form with 2 sets of fingerprints. Fingerprint cards can be taken at local law enforcement agencies for what is typically a $5-$10 fee. The completed form and both sets of fingerprints can be submitted in-person to the OSBI office located off of 63rd Street in Oklahoma City.
Secure a Supervisor
For more information on considerations for choosing the right licensing supervisor, check out this OCI article.
Secure W2 employment
In the state of Oklahoma, LPC candidates must now be employed in a W2 position throughout candidacy. Before the law was changed in 2019, candidates could hold 1099 positions, which meant the candidate could contract with an agency and be compensated as an independent contractor. However, candidates may no longer practice as independent contractors while in candidacy and must hold a W2 position until fully licensed. Clinicians also may not operate a private practice while in candidacy.
Complete the Initial Candidacy Application
The applicant portal for LPC candidacy can be found on the Board of Behavioral Health website. To complete the application, all pages of the application packet must be filled in and submitted with a copy of the applicant’s graduate school transcripts and proof of W4 employment. Again, applicants must also pass the OLERE before their application is complete. Once their application is pre-approved, the applicant will be notified that they are eligible to sit for the NCE.
Pass the NCE
All applicants must pass the National Counselor Examination before being approved for LPC candidacy in Oklahoma. Click here for more information on preparing for the NCE.
Applications will not be reviewed until all required paperwork is turned in and the initial application may take up to 6 weeks to be approved. Applicants may NOT start working as a therapist before candidacy is approved. If no update on the status of the application is received after 6 weeks, contact the Board of Behavioral Health.
For more information on navigating LPC candidacy, make sure to check out OCI's free e-book "Putting the CAN in Candidacy: A Practical Guide for Oklahoma LPC Candidates."