How to Become a CPCS or an ACS (Clinical Supervisor Certifications)

Supervision Certification – A Requirement in Georgia

In Georgia, Licensed Professional Counselors who provide supervision need to meet certain qualifications. At the time of this post (May 2017) the requirements are less stringent than they will be on and after October 1, 2018. The current (2017 through September 30, 2018) requirements are as follows:

  • A person who is licensed as a professional counselor can supervise if they have been licensed for a minimum of 3 years after obtaining their LPC if they have a master’s degree in the field.
  • If the LPC has a specialist degree in counseling (which is typically offered in Education such as School Counseling) programs, then the LPC needs to be at least 2 years post LPC license.
  • Lastly, a person who has completed a doctorate degree in counseling and is licensed as an LPC cannot provide clinical supervision to others until they are at least 1 year post licensure.

On and after October 1, 2018 LPC’s who provide supervision for those pursuing their LPC license must have a certification as a supervisor. In Georgia we have 2 options for certification:

  1. Become a CPCS (Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor).
  2. Become an ACS (Approved Clinical Supervisor).

How to Obtain the CPCS?

The CPCS (Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor) is a credential created and managed by the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia (LPCA-GA). I was fortunate to be a member of the LPCA-GA board while elements of the CPCS were being shaped. The intent of this credential is to support competent supervision within the counseling profession. The goal is to increase counseling competency by supporting LPC’s by providing more effective and knowledgeable clinical supervision.

You can view the CPCS requirements and download the application. It is important that you read and understand the requirements for yourself.

For those of us who did not have a graduate course in supervision in the past 10 years and do not have either an existing supervision credential from another state or the national credential ACS, then the basic requirements are as follows:

  1. Complete 24 hours of continuing education in the content area of clinical supervision. Your CE’s need to include:
    • 6 hours on the topic of legal or ethical issues in supervision;
    • 6 hours of supervision foundations (topics like the supervisory relationship and supervision theories);
    • 6 hours of supervision methods (topics like supervision process, evaluations, application of theory, and documentation);
    • the other 6 hours can be advanced topics or they can be legal/ethics, foundations or methods (topics that advance beyond the basic foundations, methods and legal or ethical matters…).
    • Make sure the CE workshops/courses you take are acceptable to the LPCA-GA. They have a list of those CE providers that they will not accept CE’s from. It is called “List of Unrecognized Providers for CPCS.”
    • You can only obtain 1/3 of the CE’s online or from a webinar. You cannot use home study for the CE requirements. View the CE requirements page on the LPCA-GA’s website for specific number of CE’s allowed at a distance.
  2. Complete the application provided by the LPCA-GA. As part of this application you are required to do the following:
    • List your continuing education on the chart provided.
    • Include copies of your certificates of completion.
    • Pay the application fee ($150) if you are not a LPCA-GA member.
    • Get 2 professional references completed on the form required by the LPCA-GA (it is in the application). Those persons must be licensed clinicians in Georgia.
  3. Please note that in the State of Georgia, you are required to complete 3 hours of supervision training related to telemental health supervision if you plan to provide any supervision at a distance, for example:
    • via phone or video-conference,
    • via e-mail exchanges,
    • and/or any incorporation of technology.

In Georgia, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists have to complete 6 hours of telemental health training. I highly recommend the Telehealth Certification Institute for training. In fact, I partner with Ray Barrett of the Telehealth Certification Institute to host training events for mental health professionals. Follow this link to read more about our latest offering and to receive a discount code.

If you have completed a graduate course in supervision within the past 10 years, you will still need to complete some supplemental CE’s — 6 hours in legal/ethical matters and an additional 6 hours in any of the approved supervision content areas (legal/ethical, foundations, methods or advanced topics).

How to Obtain the ACS?

The ACS (Approved Clinical Supervisor) credential is managed by the CCE (Center for Credentialing & Education) an affiliate of the NBCC (National Board of Certified Counselors).  It is a nationally recognized credential. This credential promotes an increase in education standards among those counselors who provide clinical supervision. According to the CCE, the ACS credential is recognized by 15 states as of (May 2017):

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee

To obtain the ACS you must complete an application and pay the application fee ($150). Below is an overview of the requirements outlined in more detail by CCE.

  1. Have a master’s degree in the field by an accredited program.
  2. Have a certification as an NCC (Nationally Certified Counselor) ; be a licensed or certified counselor; or be licensed or certified supervisor.
  3. Draft a professional disclosure statement – also known as a supervision agreement – that outlines your services. View the application for the details to be included in the professional disclosure. I cover much of this content in my workshop “Structure Matters: the Tasks of Effective Clinical Supervision.”  Participants learn how to put together their supervision agreement. 
  4. You must have 5  years of post-graduate experience with 4,000 hours of direct service with clients.
  5. You must have a professional endorse that you have completed 100 hours of clinical supervision.
  6. If you have not completed a 45 hour graduate course from a CACREP accredited program, you must complete 45 hours of supervision-related continuing education. Below is a listing of the content areas to be covered in the 45 CE hours.
  1. Roles and functions of clinical supervisors
  2. Models of clinical supervision
  3. Mental health–related professional development
  4. Methods and techniques in clinical supervision
  5. Supervisory relationship issues
  6. Cultural issues in clinical supervision
  7. Group supervision
  8. Legal and ethical issues in clinical supervision
  9. Evaluation of supervisee competence and the supervision process

Training at Development Counts

I hope you have found this content useful as your learn more about and/or pursue a credential as a CPCS or ACS. At Development Counts, I offer 12 workshops that assist those who are seeking supervision credentials. If you are new to the process and would like additional advisement on which of my workshops to take please view the video below.

  • I offer workshops once per month.
  • Each workshop is 6 Supervision Related CE hours.
  • You receive a discount when you register in advance.
  • Five of my workshops are supervision ethics related.
  • The rest can be categorized as foundations, methods or advanced topics.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like schedule a consultation appointment to assist you with your supervision service development.

Copyright © 2017 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.

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