The Ohio House of Representatives today announced the passage of House Bill 567, legislation to modify counselor, social worker, and marriage and family therapist licensing law, and to provide certain professional rights to such licensees.

H.B. 567 specifically revises the number and type of hours of graduate credit in counselor training that must be completed for both professional clinical counselor licenses and professional counselor licenses. The bill changes the licensing requirement to 90 quarter hours, or 60 semester hours, of graduate credit in counselor training. Training must include instruction in areas such as clinical psychopathology, personality, and abnormal behavior; evaluation of mental and emotional disorders; diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders; and methods of prevention, intervention, and treatment of mental and emotional disorders.

H.B. 567 also makes modifications to the educational requirements for independent social worker licenses, requiring an individual to hold a master’s degree in social work from an educational institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Additionally, this legislation goes to great lengths to ensure that an employee in the service of the state must not engage in the act of professional counseling without a valid license from the State Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board.

“The bill puts Ohio at the forefront of social work nationwide,” said Representative Barbara Sears, the bill’s sponsor. “With the need for behavioral and mental health services ever-increasing, the time is now to ensure the highest quality of care.”

This legislation makes changes to the membership of the Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board by delineating what types of counselors should be included on the 15 person Board, and gives the Board authority to take disciplinary action against individuals/entities that fail to comply with the new educational licensing standards.

H.B. 567 passed in the House by a vote of 89-1.


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