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Department of Labor

Licensed Mental Health Counselor


Mental health counseling is the evaluation, assessment, amelioration, treatment, modification or adjustment to a disability, problem, or disorder of behavior, character, development, emotion, personality or relationship by the use of verbal or behavioral methods.

Practitioners, called mental health counselors, are trained in counseling and psychotherapy to treat individuals with mental and emotional disorders and other behavioral challenges. Mental health counselors address mental health, human relationship, education and career concerns within ethical, developmental, preventive and treatment contexts. Mental health counselors demonstrate a concern for the short-term and long-term well-being of individuals, couples, families, groups and organizations.

Mental health counselors are dedicated to the optimal functioning of individuals, families and organizations. The mental health counselor uses standard mental health assessment and evaluation protocols, develops patient psychosocial histories, writes treatment plans, documents patient progress, facilitates consultation and referral with other providers, and implements discharge plans.

Licensure Requirements:

Other than those mental health counselors licensed under the special provisions established in law for those already practicing when the new law came into effect, each New York licensed mental health counselor has a master's or higher degree in counseling, or its equivalent, with required coursework in mental health counseling theory and practice, assessment, psychopathology, ethical practice and a supervised internship, has passed a State-approved exam, and has completed at least 3,000 hours of post-degree clinical experience under supervision of a qualified, licensed mental health professional. Those licensed under the special provisions for those practicing when the licensing law took effect meet other standards specified in law and regulation.

Individuals who have completed their education requirements may hold a limited permit to practice the profession while they work to complete the exam and/or experience required for full licensure. These individuals practice under supervision at a specific site.

Only licensed mental health counselors, and certain others exempt under the licensing law, may practice the profession. None of these exempt individuals, however, may use the title of licensed mental health counselor unless they are also licensed in mental health counseling.


The fee for licensure and first registration is $371.
The fee for a limited permit is $70.

Licenses Issued and Active:

In 2016, there were 566 licenses issued for this occupation.
In 2017, there were 776 licenses issued for this occupation.
As of July 1, 2018, there were 7,253 registered licenses for this occupation.

Licensing Authority:

New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
Mental Health Practitioners Unit
89 Washington Avenue, 2nd Floor
Albany, New York 12234
Phone: (518) 474-3817 Ext. 592
Fax: (518) 402-2323

Standard Occupational Classification:

21-1014.00 - Mental Health Counselors
To learn more about this occupation search the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).

Additional Information:

National Board of Certified Counselors
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, North Carolina 27403
Phone: 336-547-0607
Fax: 336-547-0017
E-mail: [email protected]


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 12/14/18.

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