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Illinois Mental Health Counselors


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What other certifications are available for clinical degrees?
MPCAC-Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council. This is an alternative certification for psychology programs at the master's level. Counselor licensure has no special regulatory exceptions r allowances for degree programs with this certification.

What Kind of Therapy am I allowed to do?

A LCPC / LPC can provide counseling services that they are qualified for by training, education and experience.

Obviously you can not provide services beyond your scope "brain surgery", etc).
Other areas of confusion can include "Family Therapy" or "Family Counseling" . No laws in Illinois restrict "Family or Marital or Substance Abuse or Addiction Counseling" to any specific license. 

Can a LCPC certify a serious health condition under the Family Medical Leave Act?

Licensure Questions

After graduation with my masters degree can I practice before I get my LPC? Can I continue to work at my internship after graduation?

Counselor Incapacitation or Termination of Practice

Process: Three areas:

1. Education
2. Experience-Supervision
3. Examination
A. Apply for licensure.
B. It will take approximately 8 weeks to hear back from IDFPR.
C. Once your application is approved schedule the exam.
D. The exam is offered at computer centers.
E. It will take 2-4 weeks to receive notice that you are licensed.

If you are a "covered employer" under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") with "covered employees," you should ensure that you are only accepting certifications of serious health conditions from those health care providers allowed under the FMLA. That definition includes: doctors of medicine or osteopathy who are authorized to practice medicine or surgery in the states in which the doctor practices; podiatrists, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, clinical social workers, physician assistants (who are authorized to practice under state law and who pare performing within the scope of their practice as defined under state law) and certain Christian Science Practitioners. 29 C.F.R. § 825.125(a)(1); 29 C.F.R. § 825.125(b).

However, if you or your company's health plan accepts certification of a serious health condition from any health care provider to substantiate a claim for benefits, you must also accept that certification from the provider for FMLA leave. 29 C.F.R. § 825.125(b)(4).

Who is not on the list? Nurses (unless falling into one of the categories above), physical therapists, massage therapists, counselors (unless falling into one of the categories above), hypnotists, acupuncturists, dental hygienists, any medical technicians, pharmacists, and opticians.

Keep in mind that once you accept a certification and certify the claim as covered under FMLA, you will likely not be able to easily rescind it if you discover that your company has accepted it from someone other than a "health care provider." Be careful, and remember your right to reject certifications that do not comply with the law.

Licensure Application

Past Criminal Convictions?
Required clinical supervision to become a LCPC
Where can I see the rules?
I have taken a special training or an intensive training, etc. Or I have 20 years experience, etc. Can I get a waiver for the degree, test, experience? NO
What if the applicant is undocumented?


There are 2 exams.
The exams are owned by NBCC.
You do not need to join NBCC or become a NCC (National Certified Counselor) to take the exams.
NCE Exam. This is required to become a LPC.

NCMHCE Exam. Both the NCE exam and the NCMHCE exams are required to become a LCPC.
If you have already taken the NCE exam you do not need to retake it.

Education Licensure Questions

Do I need a DEGREE in counseling/clinical psychology/art therapy/dance therapy? YES
Can I have a non-clinical degree and just take the required classes? NO
Is a degree from a CACREP program required? NO

I have a degree from a CACREP program but not all the classes listed as required? IT DOESN'T MATTER. If you have a degree from a CACREP program you have satisfied the educational requirements.

What classes are required? See list. #5 A-M

What if I have the correct degree but not all the required classes?

NBCC Policy on requiring a degree from a CACREP program to obtain the NCC. How does that impact Illinois licensure?

Where is a description of the classes? Section 1375.APPENDIX A   Course Descriptions
Will a degree from an online program qualify for licensure? 
Can I send my transcript to someone to be evaluated for deficiencies? NO. You can apply for licensure and receive a list of deficiencies.
What does a 1 year residency mean? One year's residence is defined as 24 semester hours taken on a full-time or part-time basis at the institution.


Application IDFPR.     $150.00
Exam Fees: NBCC/Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE)
                  $   per exam
Pearson Vue oversees the exam sites. (no additional fee)
Continental Testing connects your exam results with IDFPR.  


Individuals can have a CAQH ID# and a practice can have a different number. An employee of a practice will use the practice ID#. If they leave the practice they will use their own #.

NBCC Policy on requiring a degree from a CACREP program to obtain the NCC. How does that impact Illinois licensure?

NBCC Policy Statement

Illinois does not currently require a degree from a CACREP program to obtain the LPC or LCPC. See licensure education requirements. The NBCC will be requiring a degree from a CACREP program to obtain their certification the NCC (Nationally Certified Counselor). No one needs the NCC to practice in Illinois or any state. The NCC does not substitute for your need to get licensed in any state. Illinoisand most state utilize exams owned by NBCC for licenure. The NCE and NCMHCE exams. Nothing in the NBCC policy changes that or impacts access to those exams. 

Licensure Testing
 Test Retakes? (What if I fail?)

After Graduation.
Illinois does not have a status of almost licensed or license pending.
There are exceptions in the law to a license being required.
225 ILCS 107/15)Sec. 15. Exemptions. 

You can not work outside those exceptions without the appropriate license. The Counselor Licensure Act is both a Title Protection Act and a Practice Protection Act. 

For further clarification contact an attorney.

Insurance / Managed Care

 medicaid Billing
 Medicare Billing Information on billing "Incident To" is available in our members only area under Private Practice


Recoupment case law

State Laws on recoupment

Can LPC bill ILBCBS?

Will a LCPC with a PhD or EdD receive a different reimbursement level from the payment provider?


Licensure Application

Criminal convictions
Previous simple DUI or DWI will not reject your application.
Most misdemeanors and some felonies will not reject your application.
Forcible felonies
Required clinical supervision to become a LCPC
Licensure require the applicant to:  (more details)

"the supervisor shall have met with the applicant at least one hour each week.  The supervision means the review of counseling and case management." They could meet every other week for 2 hours each time. 

The supervisor they meet with can be at their place of employment or contracted outside their place of employment.

The supervision must be live face to face. No electronic devices.

The supervisor must be a LCPC, LCSW, Lic Psychologist or Psychiatrist. (LMFT is not allowed)

Supervision can be individual or a group of no more than 5.


Continuing Education

 CEs / CEUs / PDs
CE=Continuing Education. In Illinois this is measured in clock hours. Illinois mental health professionals licensed through IDFPR earn CEs towards their license renewal.
 CEUs=Continuing Education Units. Illinois licensure does not utilize CEs. This term is frequently confused for CEs.
 PDs=Professional Development Units Illinois school counselors / teachers may earn PDs attending trainings. PDs are not transferrable to CEs.
 Sexual Harassment prevention training required.
 Does the training you attend qualify for CEs?
IDFPR lists qualified providers.
  • IMHCA -all trainings for LPC-LCPC/LSW-LCSW/LMFT/Psychologists
  • ICA -all trainings for LPC-LCPC/LSW-LCSW/LMFT/Psychologists
  • NBCC / Affiliates
  • ACA / Affiliates
  • AAMFT / Affiliates
  • EAPA / Affiliates
  • APA / Affiliates
  • IDFPR licensed providers
 I want to attend a training by XYZ, etc. How do I know if it qualifies for CEs?
Look at their CE policy to see if it lists one of the above groups. Call them to verify who provides the CEs for the event.

How many CEs do I need each renewal period?
You must earn 30 CEs in every renewal period. The current renewal period is  is 4/1/21-3/31/23.
CE Rules

There are a number of mandated trainings that you must take. Learn more about those requirements here:
Required Trainings (must be logged into the site).

Out of State Training Approval
Sexual Harassment prevention training required. LAW
All persons who hold a professional license issued by the Division and are subject to a continuing education requirement shall complete a one-hour course in sexual harassment training.  A licensee may count this one hour for completion of this course towards meeting the minimum credit hours required for continuing education... Completion of this course shall be a condition of renewing a license.  This requirement shall become effective for all applicable license renewals occurring on or after January 1, 2020.

Education Licensure Requirements


What if I have the correct degree but not all the required classes? The licensure rules currently require a 48 semester hour degree in Illinois. #5

The education rules are identical for a LPC / LCPC.
If you are missing some of the required classes but you have the correct degree you can make up the missing classes. They must be from a graduate counseling program. At least 3 semester hours each and in person or online.

Section 1375.45  Professional Education for Professional Counselor License d) 2.)  List of Illinois Universities

Some schools will allow you to take individual classes and others will require you to enroll in a degree program.
Online Degrees - A degree from a CACREP program meets the educational requirements. Online or in person doesn't matter. The list of classes doesn't matter.

An online degree from a non-CACREP program is not allowed in Illinois. (a 1 year residency is required)

Insurance / Managed Care

Medicaid Billing
Medicaid is a program with shared funding by the state and federal governments.  Each state can choose to fund this differently. Illinois has limited funds.

LCPCs will be eligible under the Legislation passed 5/31/21  individually eligible to bill medicaid directly for client services. Many medicaid eligible  SB2294 Clients who are in managed care systems that are managed by ILBCBS, Aetna, etc.  LCPCs are eligible providers in this situation. They are contracted with the managed care company and not directly billing medicaid. Community mental health agencies receive funds from the state of Illinois to provide mental health services to medicaid eligible clients. LCPCs are allowed to bill as part of these community agencies.

Once SB229 is signed by the Governor into law rules may need to be drafted.


Medicare is a federally funded program. LCPCs can not bill for medicare eligible clients. For 20 years we along with ACA, AMHCA, NBCC, AMFT and others have supported legislation to change this. Current legislation.

Rules governing insurance companies recouping payments are in: (215 ILCS 5/368d)    Sec. 368d. Recoupments. It limits the period to 18 months.

Our understanding, there needs to be a GROUP CONTRACT and the LPC needs to be listed on the roster and needs to undergo credentialing (submit license, malpractice insurance, etc.)  The claims need to be filed under the group tax ID with the LPC's NPI number. The LPC needs to be listed as the rendering provider (not the supervisor or the practice owner.)  The supervisor's name needs to be listed as the supervisor and they are required by ILBCBS to be in the office location during the time of the session. The supervisor needs to routinely review the file.  The LPC needs to participate in supervision according to counselor licensure regulations.  Claims will be paid at the masters level clinician fee rate.

Will a LCPC with a PhD or EdD receive a different reimbursement level from the payment provider?
Insurance providers pay based upon the professional license. The counselor's degree does not impact the payment.
A LCPC Masters or Doctoral level are paid the same. A psychologist is paid more based upon the license not the degree.

Licensure Testing

 Test Retakes?
NBCC policy is in the Applicant Handbook for the NCMHCE.
  pg 14 -3 attempts in 2 years
IDFPR-After 3 years new application required.(225 ILCS 107/40) Section 40. (c)

Experience Required for LCPC

 Number of Hours?
3,320 hours of work of which 1,920 hours in face to face counseling. Section 1375.130 (d)
 The hours must be earned in no less than 2 years. There is no maximum number of years to earn experience in. Section 1375.130 (b)
 1 hour weekly supervision must be by a LCPC / LCSW / Psychologist / Psychiatrist or your state equivalent.
You never have to live or work in Illinois to get licensed in Illinois. Appropriately supervised clinical experience from anywhere will qualify.

What Kind of Therapy am I allowed to do?

A LCPC / LPC can provide counseling services that they are qualified for by training, education and experience.

Obviously you can not provide services beyond your scope "brain surgery", etc).
Other areas of confusion can include "Family Therapy" or "Family Counseling" . No laws in Illinois restrict "Family or Marital or Substance Abuse or Addiction Counseling" to any specific license.  Services are broadly defined in the law under definitions.

Can a LPC work at a non-profit without a LCPC/LCSW on site during sessions?
Yes. .

Out of State Therapy.
Seeing existing clients who temporarily or permanently relocate to another state. 

You and the client need to be in the state you are licensed in. There are no exceptions or provisions for teletherapy, clients on vacation, etc. If your client is in another state from Illinois you will need to meet the licensing requirements of that state/country. All Illinois license laws that apply to Illinois apply to taletherapy. Illinois has no special teletherapy laws.

What if the applicant is undocumented?
Concerning IDFPR
If an application comes in without an SSN the staff will flag it and the person will have to complete an affidavit as to why they do not have an SSN. 
Those affidavits are reviewed by the Department staff (not the Board) and may or may not progress to the next level - i.e., review for licensure. 
If the person says I am undocumented and therefore I do not have an SSN" they are not likely to get to the next level. 
If they say I am working on citizenship or something like that, they may.
Then at renewal the process begins over again - they have to provide an SSN and, if none exists, affidavit again. 
It used to be automatic denial of renewal, but now they are reviewed on a case by case basis again.
At the testing site they must produce two forms of identification. One must be a picture ID. Illinois does provide a Drivers license to undocumented individuals.

ISBE will allow someone to obtain a teaching license without a SSN but they can not be employed. Any employer of a licensed counselor (just like schools with teachers) would need to complete a I-9 for each employee verifying legal residency status.


How long does a therapist need to keep records?

4)         Failing to establish and maintain client records and case notes, including failing to inform clients of issues related to the difficulty of maintaining the confidentiality of electronically transmitted communication.  Records must be maintained for at least 7 years.  In the case of a minor, records must be maintained 7 years after the minor turns 18. 

What intake paperwork is required by law for counselors?

There is no specific requirement in the law for a specific type or format or intake form.

Who does a therapist need release of information for? 

(740 ILCS 110/5) (from Ch. 91 1/2, par. 805)
    Sec. 5. Disclosure; consent. Specifics on disclosure and consent is specified in this law.


  (740 ILCS 110/9.4)
    Sec. 9.4. Disclosure for treatment and coordination of care.

Where can I find the laws on records?

What are the laws on copying records?

(740 ILCS 110/4) (from Ch. 91 1/2, par. 804)
    Sec. 4. (a) The following persons shall be entitled, upon request, to inspect and copy a recipient's record or any part thereof:

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DeKalb, IL 60115

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