Putting the "Can" In Candidacy
LPC candidacy is a 2-to-5 year experience with many obligations. On top of seeing clients and completing paperwork, candidates have many tasks to complete every six months to make sure they are on track to earn their license. Here are a few things for candidates to remember as they begin candidacy:
Begin Logging Hours Immediately
LPC candidates must log their working hours weekly and turn in a log of hours every 6 months. Regardless of when a clinician begins working, one’s official candidacy commencement date is the date on which the Board of Behavioral Health approves their application for candidacy. This means if a clinician were to be approved for candidacy on May 7th, but does not begin working as a therapist until September 15th, their first 6-month hours log should still end on November 7th, even if "zero" hours are logged for the first few weeks.
Turn Hours in On Time
Candidates have 60 days from the end of the 6-month period to turn their hours log into the Board of Behavioral Health for review. If a candidate's hours are not turned in within 60 days of the end of the 6-month period, the hours may not be counted towards licensure.
Find a Way to Track Hours
The Board of Behavioral Health website has a 6-month hours log form that may be downloaded and must be used to report to the Board how many hours of experience and supervision an LPC candidate has acquired week-by-week. Some choose to use this form to log their hours weekly, while others use an electronic calendar, an excel spreadsheet, or a notebook to keep track and add their hours to the Board's form at a later date. A candidate’s supervisor may have a preference for how the hours are tracked and should review the logged hours during each weekly supervision meeting.
Know What Hours Count
LPC candidates and supervisors should be familiar with what kinds of experience may be logged for the purpose of candidacy. Recently, a candidate’s hours were negated by the Board of Behavioral Health and unable to be applied towards the 3,000 hours necessary to apply for licensure. This is because the Board found that the reported research activities and therapy animal training did not qualify for requirements of indirect experience as outlined by the Licensed Professional Counselor Act.
Understand Direct vs Indirect Hours
By the end of LPC candidacy, clinicians must have logged at least 3,000 hours that are approved by the Board of Behavioral Health, at least 1,050 of which must be direct client contact hours. Direct hours are defined as face-to-face, directly counseling clients, while indirect hours are hours worked engaging in activities such as research related to counseling, paperwork, and training. For more information on what qualifies for hours, candidates may view LPC-specific acts and regulations on the Board of Behavioral Health website.
Keep an Eye on the Ratios
Regardless of how many hours are clocked by the end of LPC candidacy, at least 1/3 of all hours must be direct client contact hours. As clinicians are building their caseloads at the beginning of candidacy, it is not uncommon for direct hours to consist of less than 1/3 of all hours logged. However, upon the final tally of the required 3,000 hours at least 1/3 must be direct client contact or a clinician may not qualify for licensure.
Track Supervision Minutes
LPC candidates must have 2.25 minutes of supervision for every hour clocked in week while in candidacy. This means that for every 40-hour workweek a candidate works, 90 minutes of supervision must be clocked. If a candidate logs 40 hours of work in a week but only receives 45 minutes of supervision, the Board of Behavioral Health will only count 20 hours of that clinician’s work towards their supervised experience.
Meet All 6-Month Requirements
An LPC candidate has many requirements to meet every 6 months for their hours to count towards licensure. Along with keeping track of weekly hours and supervision experience, every 6 months candidates must have had two sessions reviewed by their supervisor, either by recording or live monitoring. Candidates also need to make sure to document which day their onsite supervisor consulted with their licensing supervisor, if they are not the same person.
LPC candidates must also be evaluated by their licensing supervisor every 6 months. Licensing supervisors must complete the Evaluation of Supervised Experience form and review it with the candidate before the candidate signs the form in acknowledgement and submits the 6-month review paperwork. A 6-month hours log, complete with the evaluation, must be submitted every 6 months until candidacy is completed.
Laws, regulations, and due dates are subject to change. It is up to each LPC candidate to stay up-to-date on laws and regulations that affect their licensure. Candidates can regularly check the Board of Behavioral Health’s website and may join the bimonthly board meetings to stay informed. For specific questions, candidates can also contact the Board at info.BehavioralHealth@bbhl.ok.gov
For more information on thriving in candidacy, make sure to check out the free e-book "Putting the CAN in Candidacy: A Practical Guide for Oklahoma LPC Candidates."