Most states require professional counselors to earn continuing education credits on an annual or biennial basis in order to renew their credentials. States might also require continuing education in specific content areas at renewal. For example, it is common that a portion of your renewal CE hours will need to cover ethics. The number of continuing education units required for renewal will vary per state and can be located by reviewing the specific licensure renewal requirements of the state in which you are licensed and will be renewed. There may also be specific limitations to how many units you can receive online as live instruction may be a requirement for some or all the units earned. A renewal fee is also required, usually when you attest to having completed the continuing education requirements to maintain your licensure credential.
Professional counselors may claim to be specialized in one or more areas of practice in which they serve clients. Section C, Professional Responsibility, of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics speaks to various aspects of standards of practice. Counselors acknowledge the boundaries of their competence by only practicing within the areas in which they have received an education, training, supervised experience, state, and national professional credentials, and appropriate professional experience (American Counseling Association, 2014, Section C.2.a). Counselors are responsible for seeking appropriate education, training, and supervised experience in the areas of new specialty (American Counseling Association, 2014, Section C.2.b, 2014). In protecting clients from the risks of harm, it is important to have competence in the areas in which you serve. Our ethics also require that we represent our qualifications truthfully and accurately (American Counseling Association, 2014, Section C.4.a). In accordance with our professional counselor ethics, we only claim licenses and certifications that are current and in good standing (American Counseling Association, 2014, Section C.4.b).
The Interstate Counseling Compact
Through the Interstate Counseling Compact counselors who hold an unencumbered license to practice independently in a home state can seek a privilege to practice in one or more other states holding membership in the Compact; this includes the provision of services via telehealth. Additionally, the Interstate Counseling Compact will facilitate the process for counselors to obtain a license in a new state when they move and will allow military spouses to practice in any compact state using their home state license.