Continuing Education

Mental Health Counseling Continuing Education Provider Approval under section 79-9.8(i) of the Regulations of the Commissioner


An organization or individual must comply with the requirements of section 79-9.8(i) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (Commissioner's Regulations) to obtain State Education Department (SED) approval as a provider of continuing education for Licensed Mental Health Counselors. Approved continuing education providers are expected to meet or exceed the standards detailed below.

To apply for approval, you must complete and submit an Application for Approval as a Continuing Education Provider for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (Form 1-SB), along with a $900 check or money order made payable to the New York State Education Department, to the address listed at the end of the form, with all required supporting materials. The fee is for evaluation and consideration, not approval, of the application and is non-refundable.

A complete application for approval as a continuing education provider and the $900 fee must be submitted to SED at least 90 days prior to the date of the commencement of the proposed continuing education programs. Courses taken and/or completed prior to the date of the provider’s approval and/or prior to January 1, 2017 are not acceptable and cannot be counted toward satisfying the triennial registration continuing education requirements.

A separate application and $900 fee must be submitted by an individual or organization for each specific profession in which the applicant wishes to become a Department-approved provider of continuing education.

Approval of continuing education providers is for a three-year term and must be renewed. Approved providers will be reminded, before the end of their current approval period that they must submit a renewal application, along with the $900 fee, no less than 45 days prior to the expiration of their current approval.

Please read the “Standards” below which state the prerequisites that must be met as part of the approval process and for completion of the application. If you have any questions concerning the requirements for continuing education provider approval, please contact the Office of the State Board for Mental Health Practitioners, 89 Washington Avenue, 2nd Floor, Albany, NY 12234-1000 or by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 450 or by emailing mhpbd@nysed.gov.


Standards

Standard 1 – Eligible Individuals and Organizations | Standard 2 - Courses/Educational Activities | Standard 3 - Instructors | Standard 4 - Assessment of Learning | Standard 5 - Records | Standard 6 - Resources

Standard 1 – Eligible Individuals and Organizations

Eligibility requirements for organizations and individuals seeking to offer continuing education.

Section 79-9.8(i)(2) of the Commissioner’s Regulations defines the entities that are eligible to apply for approval as a provider of continuing education for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs). Eligible entities include, but are not limited to:

  • a higher education institution that offers programs that are registered pursuant to Part 52.32 of the Commissioner’s Regulations as leading to licensure as a licensed mental health counselor in New York State;
  • a higher education institution in another jurisdiction that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Professions (CACREP);
  • a higher education institution in New York State or another jurisdiction that is accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency and that offers graduate coursework that is directly related to the enhancement of practice, skills and knowledge of licensed mental health counselors;
  • a psychotherapy institute, chartered by the Board of Regents, that offers coursework that is directly related to the enhancement of practice, skills and knowledge of licensed mental health counselors;
  • a national mental health counselor organization or other professional organization that promotes and protects the health, safety and welfare of the public and fosters good practice in the mental health profession, including specialty boards;
  • a New York State mental health counseling organization that is incorporated or otherwise organized in New York State that promotes and protects the health, safety and welfare of the public and fosters good practice in the mental health counseling profession in New York State as a whole and/or a region of New York State;
  • a national organization of jurisdictional boards of mental health counseling that promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and fosters good practice in the mental health counseling profession;
  • an entity operated under an operating certificate appropriately issued in accordance with articles 16, 31 or 32 of the New York State Mental Hygiene Law;
  • an entity, hospital or health facility as defined in section 2801 of the New York State Public Health Law;
  • an individual with expertise to provide continuing education to licensed mental health counselors; or
  • an organization that is an educational entity or employs licensed mental health counselors that has expertise in providing licensed mental health counselor continuing education.

The documents submitted with the application must demonstrate that the individual, entity or organization will offer courses of learning or self-study programs in one or more of the subjects prescribed for acceptable continuing education as listed below.

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Standard 2 - Courses/Educational Activities

Courses/educational activities must be offered in appropriate subject areas.

Section 8412(3)(b) of the Education Law limits acceptable educational programs for continuing education to "courses of learning" which contribute to the professional practice of mental health counseling. Under Section 79-9.8(c)(2) of the Commissioner’s Regulations, providers must offer formal continuing education in professional and clinical skills in accordance with the practice of mental health counseling as defined in section 8402 of the Education Law. Such subjects may include, but are not be limited to, clinical interventions and evidence-based practice; cross-disciplinary offerings from medicine, law, administration, education, behavioral and social sciences related to mental health counseling practice; or patient communications, recordkeeping, and matters relating to law and/or ethics, which contribute to professional practice in mental health counseling and the health, safety, and/or welfare of the public.

Educational courses/activities that may be offered by approved providers include:

  • formal courses of learning including, but not limited to, master’s or doctoral level university and college credit and non-credit courses, offered by a Department approved provider of continuing education for mental health counselors;
  • professional development programs and technical sessions offered by national, state and local professional associations and other organizations, who are Department approved CE providers for mental health counselors;
  • organized live in-person or live online educational and technical programs related to the practice of mental health counseling that are offered by a Department approved provider of continuing education for mental health counselors; and,
  • self-study courses related to the practice of mental health counseling offered by a Department approved provider of continuing education for mental health counselors.

SED may, pursuant to section 79-9.8(c)(2)(ii)(c) of the Commissioner’s Regulations, in its discretion and as needed to contribute to the health and welfare of the public, require the completion of continuing education courses in specific subjects to fulfill the mandatory continuing education requirement.

All continuing education courses/activities must be a minimum of one hour in length and, thus, offer a minimum of one contact hour of continuing education credit. Quarter hours may be used for courses longer than one hour.

Only Department approved providers may award continuing education credit hours to New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselors for the purpose of satisfying their triennial registration continuing education requirements. Courses taken and/or completed prior to the date of the provider’s approval and/or prior to January 1, 2017 are not acceptable and cannot be counted toward satisfying the triennial registration continuing education requirements.

Approved providers are responsible for maintaining a record of their acceptable continuing education courses/activities and providing this information to inquiring licensees. SED does not publicize a list of courses that have been approved for continuing education purposes.

Any continuing education designed for the sole purpose of personal development, marketing, business practices, and maximizing profits for the practice of a licensed mental health counselor will not be considered by SED as acceptable continuing education.

Supervision of a licensed mental health counselor, limited permit holder, student or intern in a placement that is part of a license-qualifying program, will not be considered by the Department as constituting acceptable continuing education.

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Standard 3 - Instructors

Instructors must be qualified to teach the courses/educational activities which will be offered for continuing education purposes.

Section 79-9.8(i)(3)(ii)(c) of the Commissioner’s Regulations requires providers to use course/educational activity course instructors who are qualified to teach the courses/educational activities which will be offered, including but not limited to, faculty of a licensed mental health counseling program offered by a higher education institution; or instructors who are specially qualified authorities in activities that are directed at developing and enhancing a licensee’s practice as a licensed mental health counselor, as determined by SED with assistance from the State Board for Mental Health Practitioners, to conduct such courses.

Documentation, such as a curriculum vitae (C.V.) or resume, will demonstrate the instructor’s qualifications to teach the course as a content expert and will include, at a minimum, his or her name; current employment title; degrees earned with name and location of educational institution, major and date received; professional licensure status; teaching experience; and previous professional positions.

Under New York State professional licensing laws, only those having a professional clinical license can practice mental health counseling and psychotherapy, such as assessment and evaluation of clients and the provision of clinical therapy and interventions. Thus, an instructor teaching a continuing education course/activity that includes clinical content must have a professional clinical license, in addition to meeting the above-referenced education, content expertise, work and teaching experience requirements for continuing education instructors.

In addition to assuring that instructors meet this standard, providers must:

  1. maintain and use written criteria and procedures to select instructors, including job descriptions, intended to assure that every instructor is qualified by training and experience to teach the course/educational activity assigned to them; and
  2. maintain and use written procedures to evaluate the instructors' performance. Both attendees' written evaluations and assessments by course/educational activity monitors may be part of the evaluation of the instructors' performance.

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Standard 4 - Assessment of Learning

Provider has a method of assessing the learning of participants and evaluating the effectiveness of courses.

Section 79-9.8(i)(3)(ii)(d) of the Commissioner’s Regulations requires providers to have a method of assessing the learning of participants.

Pursuant to this requirement, providers must develop and maintain assessment methods that: (1) are appropriate to the course/educational activity objectives and course type (live in-person, live online or self-study); and (2) measure the extent to which the objectives were accomplished. These assessment methods may include, but are not limited to, post-tests, questionnaires, and evaluation forms completed by the participant. Course/educational activity monitors may also be effective components of an assessment process.

A self-study course must incorporate a post-test to determine if the learner has mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities for the course. The learner must achieve a minimum passing score in order to qualify for continuing education credit. Therefore, the learner must pass the test before a certificate of completion is awarded to him or her. Approved providers can determine the necessity or desire for using post-test assessments for other course types, such as live in-person or live online courses.

In addition to having a method(s) of assessing the learning of course participants, a course evaluation form, completed by all learners, must be provided for all course types. At a minimum, the evaluation form should solicit feedback from learners on the specific objectives of the course and the effectiveness of the instructor(s) in conveying the course material and objectives. The evaluation form must include the title of the course, the date the course was completed, and the name(s) of the instructor(s).

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Standard 5 - Records

Provider will maintain records for at least six years from the date of completion of coursework/educational activity.

Section 79-9.8(i)(3)(ii)(e) of the Commissioner’s Regulations requires providers to create and maintain for at least six years the following records for each course/educational activity:

  1. the date and location of the course/educational activity;
  2. the name and curriculum vitae of the instructor/presenter;
  3. the objectives and learning methods of the course/educational activity;
  4. the outline of the course/educational activity, the assessment methods used, and the number of contact hours of the course/educational activity;
  5. a summary of any evaluation of the course/educational activity;
  6. copies of all promotional materials used in a course/educational activity;
  7. any evaluation of the need for the course/educational activity; and
  8. the list of licensed practitioners in attendance at a course or participating in an educational activity, including the profession(s) in which each is licensed.

Providers must have policies and procedures for the storage and confidentiality of these records. The continuing education provider must establish a process by which a learner and/or SED may retrieve those records.

In the event an approved provider discontinues operation, the governing body of such provider must notify SED and transfer all records as directed by it.

Providers must provide a Certificate of Completion/Participation to licensed practitioners who have completed a course/educational activity for continuing education hours/credit. A Certificate of Completion/Participation must contain the following information:

  • the provider’s name and address;
  • the name of the learner/participant, his/her licensed profession, and license number;
  • the course/educational activity title;
  • the instructor(s) name(s);
  • date and location (city/state) of the course/ educational activity;
  • the course type (e.g., live in-person, live online or self-study);
  • the total number of contact hours earned; and
  • a statement indicating that: {name of approved provider} is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Mental Health Counselors {provider approval number}.

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Standard 6 - Resources

Provider must have adequate resources to provide continuing education.

Approved providers must have an adequate financial base upon which the continuing education program is funded. In order to assure this a provider must submit a current or projected budget representative of a fiscal year for its continuing education program. The budget should include base funds, revenue and all typical expenses.

All other resources (e.g., office space, training facilities, equipment, supplies, technology, library, etc.) available to adequately facilitate and ensure achievement of the continuing education program should be described.

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Last Updated: July 20, 2016