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Licenses

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The board of clinical social work, family therapy, marriage and mental health counseling of the state of Florida provides licenses and regulates those working as clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and counselors of people with mental healths who meet the statutory requirements. Rule Chapter 64B4 on the other hand carries the rules by which the board’s policies are defined. This essay is going to look at these two, chapters 491 and rule chapter 64B.

The legislature saw that the changing trends in the world needed appropriate mechanisms to protect members of the public by providing them with privileged communications in relation to their health, safety and welfare. This was also aimed at helping those that serve the public in service areas like counseling, psychotherapy and clinical service. This being a sensitive area, the legislature felt that it was important to guard the public from being served by unqualified persons. This necessitated the coming up of minimum qualifications for one to enter or remain in the respective areas of profession.

 “Board’ the committee that oversees the activities that are carried out in the four areas of profession. (2) “Clinical social worker” any person that is permitted by the law to offer social clinical services. (3) The whole period through which one serves people in the clinical social service is referred to as experience. (4) The section that is responsible for all matters of health in chapter is a department. (5)  A person that is responsible and deals with family matters like marriage is a marriage and family therapist. (6) One that counsels people with mental problems is a mental health counselor.

The “practice of clinical social work” is the use of all the knowledge acquired in the respective profession areas to prevent or treat abnormal behavior and sustains mental health in people. All methods modalities and techniques of clinical nature are restricted to be performed by persons trained and allowed by law to use them, and only such persons can treat or diagnose a problem. (8) All measures taken to solve or tackle issues affecting marital and family systems are referred to as the practice of marriage and family therapy. Services offered here are restricted to persons that are specialized in this area. (9) The treatment of mental or emotional disorders and other human dysfunctions constitutes the mental health counseling. (10) Any person that is legally allowed to administer clinical social work services by this chapter is a provisional clinical social worker licensee. (11) One that provides therapy services covering marriage and family is a provisional marriage and family therapist licensee. (12) One that is supervised to provide mental health services is a provisional mental counselor licensee. (13) Psychotherapist is either a marriage or family therapist or a mental health counselor permitted by this chapter.

Board of clinical social work, marriage and family therapy, and mental health.

This provides that within the department, a board of nine members appointed by the Florida governor and confirmed by the state shall be formed, two of which should be clinical social workers, two family therapists, two mental counselors, all licensed and in practice. Three members who are citizens but not connected to this profession. The members of the board should be appointed by the governor not later than 1st January 1988; these will be in groups of three. One group will serve two years, another three years and the last one four years. These shall be succeeded by others appointed by the governor, when their terms expire for four year terms. The provisions of this chapter shall be implemented and enforced by the board which should adopt rules in relation to sections 120.536(1) and 120.54. All chapter 456 provisions shall apply to the board, which should be based in Tallahassee city.

Intern registration; requirements

All persons wishing to practice in Florida starting from January 1st 1998 should satisfy postgraduate or post-master’s level experience requirements as stipulated by the law. They should first enroll as interns in the fields they intend to work in before commencing the above courses. They should have; completed the application form and remitted a nonrefundable application fee set basing on the rules of the board; met the education requirements for the particular profession as dictated by the law. Should submit a supervision plan that is acceptable in the opinion of the board for meeting the practicum, internship or fieldwork needed for licensure. These individual shall be supervised up to and until they receive a license. All those applying for internship on or before December 31, 2001, will be deemed qualified for licensure in their areas of interest. All those who will have started the experience requirements but fail to register, shall do so before 1st January 2000.

Provisional license; requirements

Any one seeking to work in any of the professions must be provisionally licensed before beginning to practice. All applicants certified by the board shall be given provisional licenses for the respective areas of practice by the department. To get this they must have filled the application form, paid a nonrefundable application fee set by the board. Should have earned graduate degrees in the respective disciplines, meeting the minimum requirements for the course, which are; 15 semester hours or 22 quarter hours of the coursework for a clinical social worker. At least 10 of the courses needed in sections 491. 005(3) (b) 1.a.-c. , as the board sees fit. Also the person needs to have at least 6 semesester hours or 9 quarter hours of the course credits in marriage or family systems to qualify for marriage and family therapy administration. One has to have a minimum of seven required courses to qualify for mental health counseling. A provisional licensee works under supervision of a professional until he gets a licensee or letter clearing him to practice in his area of qualification. Provisional licenses expire after 24 months from the date of issue and might not be re-issued or renewed.

Licensure by examination.

One will work as a clinical social worker only after his documents have been verified and have paid a fee of not more than $200 set by the board. He will then receive a license from the department when the board certifies that: one has applied and paid the appropriate fee, has received a doctoral degree in social work from an accredited institution or masters from a graduate school which is also accredited. The graduate program of an applicant should have addressed clinical patient or client health care services. The program should cover course in; field placement in which he served clients in clinical matters, completion of 24 semester hours or 32 quarter hours of human behavior and methods of practice. That one has at least two years of experience in clinical social work that was supervised after completion of the graduate degree in the field in a credited institution. Any one wishing to practice in Florida so as to meet clinical experience specification, must first register as per the rules before starting practice. One must pass an exam given by the department. He should have knowledge of the rules and laws of clinical social work practice, mental health and marriage and marital therapy. Those with doctorate or masters programs that did not cover direct patient or client services may be forced to return to the graduate program to complete education requirements for examination. An individual will be certified as a marriage or family therapist if he has applied and paid the required fee, has a master’s degree in the field that covers 36 semester hours or 48 quarter hours of graduate coursework, a minimum of 3 semester of one graduate-level course, 4 quarter hours in diagnosis, assessment, appraisal and individual testing or interpersonal dysfunction, and a course in behavioral research. One needs a supervised clinical practicum, internship or some experience in marriage and family counseling setting. The course title on the transcript of an applicant should clearly show the coursework content, which if not clearly shown, might require that the applicant gives additional information to back him up. The individual should also have had 2 years experience in clinical work of which 50% served clients with marriage and family matters that was supervised by a professional in the field.  Practicing as a mental health counselor one needs to apply , pay registration fee and meet the other costs like exam costs, and shall be give a license by the department if the board certifies that; he has applied and paid for the application,  has a minimum of a masters from a mental health counseling program that covered the required coursework. The transcript of the applicant should have a clear course title, clearly defining the content of the coursework or risk being asked to produce additional proof that he has gone through the course, and must be from an accredited institution. If one has gone through the course from a different country, then he needs to proof its equivalence to those in the US. Experience of two years and above in mental health counseling, which can prove. Should be conversant with the mental health laws and rules. An intern shall be certified for licensure after meeting all the education requirements. The board has discretion to adopt rules in implementing measures touching on all the professional categories given.

Dual licensure as a marriage and family therapist

One shall be licensed for this position if he proves that he is psychologists, clinical social worker and mental health counselor under the chapter with a three year valid license and must pass the exams provided in the field.

Licensure or certification by endorsement

After meeting the required formalities, one will be given a license if he shows that he is conversant with the laws and rules that govern the four areas of profession in the chapter. If he has a 3-5 year experience with a valid license, if he has the required qualifications for the field in which he wishes to be licensed, has passed licensing examination and a good track record that shows that he has not violated the chapter in any way. No license shall be issued to any one under investigation for any thing that violates the chapter.

Requirement for instruction on HIV and AIDS.

One will have to complete a course in HIV and AIDS in order to qualify for a license, if not an affidavit will be required explaining why so that the person can be given another chance to complete it, usually six months.

Renewal of license, registration, or certificate

A rule shall be set up by the board or departments stipulating how licenses or certificates will be renewed at a fee. Evidence is required from applicants that they have been continuing with education requirements since the license or certificate was issued; only master social workers may be exempt from this. Intern registration shall also be guided by a rule set by the department or board.

Inactive status; reactivation of licenses; fees;

If a licensee applies that he wants to be placed on an inactive status by paying $50 to the department, then this is termed as an inactive status. A license that is inactive can only be renewed biennially for a biennium fee of $50. For reactivation, one has to apply for the same, complete the education requirements should not be under investigation and meet the board’s requirements by paying a $50 reactivation fee together with the biennial fee for renewal. The board is free to adopt rules in relation to this.

Discipline

One will be denied a license if; he tries to obtain it by bribing or through fraudulent means, if he has one that is revoked or suspended by another state or territory or country. If one is guilty or is under investigation for a crime, practicing under someone else’s name, if one violates the chapter and generally going against the ethics of the profession.

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