Proposed Licensing Changes from the SD Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists 

Thank you for being an interested stakeholder in the proposed updates to the statutes regarding the licensure of professional counselors and professional counselors-mental health.  The Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists has proposed Senate Bill 18 to reorganize and update the statutes regarding LPC and LPC-MH licenses.  The Board took input over the past months and addressed many of the concerns raised during last legislative session.  As a result of that input, Senate Bill 18 does not make any changes to the current licensing system (two-tiers of licensure remain) and does not make any changes to the current qualifications for licensure as an LPC or an LPC-MH.  Senate Bill 18 does not make any changes to the definition of counseling or the scope of practice of an LPC or an LPC-MH.

What Senate Bill 18 does do is:

  • reorganize the current chapters pertaining to professional counseling and professional counseling-mental health to be user friendly for licensees and prospective licensees and clearly articulate the requirements for licensure and the expectations of licensees;
  • change the timeline for renewal of licensees to a biennial renewal to eliminate administrative burdens on licensees and third-party credentialing organizations;
  • clarify the requirements for licensure by endorsement for professional counselors and professional counselors-mental health licensed in another state;
  • provide a temporary license option for professional counselors and professional counselors-mental health licensed in another state who do not immediately meet the requirements for licensure by endorsement; and
  • provide an option to inactivate a license or reinstate an expired license, under certain circumstances.

In an effort to further clarify that the current qualifications for licensure for and LPC and an LPC-MH are not changing from the current requirements, the Board is considering a proposed amendment to section 18 of the bill to clearly state that the national examination necessary to be licensed as an LPC is the National Counselors Examination (NCE).  The NCE is currently required for an LPC license and the Board intends to continue to require the NCE for an LPC license.  This amendment would place the required national examination name in statute, rather than administrative rule, where this exam is currently named.  No changes are being proposed to the qualifications for an LPC in Senate Bill 18 or by this amendment.

The Board is considering an amendment to section 19 of the bill to clearly state that the national examination required to be licensed as an LPC-MH is the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).  This examination is currently required and named in administrative rule, but an amendment would place the name of the required examination in statute for clarity.  Additionally, an amendment to section 19 would delineate the accepted education for an LPC-MH license as a 48-hour CACREP program with an emphasis in mental health or studies in 6 areas from an approved program, rather than moving these requirements to administrative rule.  This proposed amendment language to address educational requirements for an LPC-MH is the exact same language in the current requirements for LPC-MH education requirements currently in statute.  The amendment to section 19 would further clarify that the supervision required for an LPC- MH license is direct client contact hours (as is currently required) and maintain the “Pull Forward Rule” in administrative rule rather than putting it in statute, as the original bill proposed. 

These amendments are intended to address concerns shared by some stakeholders that the national examination and educational requirements for an LPC and LPC-MH will remain the same moving forward.  That is the Board’s intention and these amendments provide clarity in the effort to address those concerns for stakeholders.  These amendments do not change the current qualification for an LPC or LPC-MH, but rather clarify that these qualifications remain the same under Senate Bill 18 as they are today.

I am attaching a copy of what Senate Bill 18 would look like if these amendments are made, so stakeholders can see the exact changes being proposed.  Please note:  the amendment language is noted in red in sections 18 and 19 of the attached document.  The strikethroughs indicate language that would be removed from Senate Bill 18 and the underlines indicate language that would be added to Senate Bill 18.  The Senate Health & Human Services Committee needs to approve making the amendment to Senate Bill 18.The amendment would be considered at the bill’s hearing to make these changes ahead of testimony in the bill. 

 If you have questions about this amendment language or have other concerns with Senate Bill 18, please contact me via e-mail or via cell phone (605-280-5714).  I would be happy to answer any questions or concerns in the hopes of having a consensus of support from stakeholders.

Jennifer Stalley

Addressing Concerns with SB18.pdf

SB 18 proposed amendment 1.31.20.pdf

2020 Legislation Bill Summary 2.2.20.pdf

SB 19.pdf

SB 19 MFT Bill Section by Section Summary.pdf

2020 Legislation Bill Summary.pdf