The requirements to be a professional counselor are quite strict. First you need a graduate degree in mental health counseling, then you need to apply for an associate license. After you've been granted an associate license, you still need to complete 4,000 hours of supervised professional counseling before you can get the full license. It's hard enough to complete 4,000 hours, but you've got to find someone who will supervise you the entire time.
This past summer, Rita started working a few hours a week at the Neuropsychology Center of Utah, along with my sister Andrea. NPCU is a new clinic that opened this past year, specializing in diagnosing and treating psychological disorders. It's in Clinton, about 15 minutes from our house. Rita and Andrea have both worked there as psychologists, administering various tests to help diagnose ADHD, Autism, and other developmental disorders. The clinic also does counseling for patients.
Rita has enjoyed working at NPCU as a psychologist, but the real reason she took the job is that the main counselor there, Dr. Schwebach, agreed that if Rita could get her associate license that he would supervise her. She would be able to not only work as a counselor but also log hours toward getting her full license.
With that in mind, Rita applied for her associate licensure and expected to get approval within a couple of weeks. Her degree was in school psychology and counseling, not mental health counseling as required for the license. But with the extra classes she took, she met the requirements. Or at least, that was what she thought. The license application needed to be approved by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, and one of the members of the approval board had some "concerns" with her courses. The approval got held up for weeks. After multiple phone calls over several days, Rita was finally able to speak to the correct person in charge and plead her case that her coursework met the requirements. She was evidently convincing because a few days later she noticed her license was posted on-line. (You can see it here.) We expect the actual license in the mail any day.
Rita told Dr. Schwebach that she got her license and he is going to start having her work as a counselor. I'm so excited for her. She's already been a counselor to about half the ward, but now that she's official she can actually get paid to do it.