Continuing Education Frequently Asked Questions

Who is required to have continuing education (CE) and how many hours do I need and in what time period?
  • At initial certification

The law requires certified counselors or certified advisers to complete CE at the time of initial certification and biannually after certification.

Applicants applying for initial certification as a certified counselor or a certified adviser must have completed 36 credit hours of CE, six of which must be in law and professional ethics related to counseling. They must have received these hours after completing the academic requirements and prior to the department issuing their license.

  • After initial certification

Certified counselors and certified advisers after initial certification must complete 36 hours of continuing education every two years. At least six hours of the 36 hours must be in law and professional ethics related to counseling. See WAC 246-810-027.

What courses are acceptable?
  • A continuing education program or course must be relevant to counseling and must contribute to the advancement, extension, and enhancement of the professional competence of the certified counselor or certified adviser. Relevant courses include those that are related to counseling theory and practice, modality(ies) of the counseling services the certified counselor or certified adviser will provide, professional ethics, courses related to risk assessment, screening using the global assessment of functioning scale, referral of clients, and Washington state law applicable to counseling.
  • Continuing education courses, seminars, workshops, training programs, and institutes must have a featured instructor, speaker(s), or panel approved by an industry-recognized institution of higher learning, or a local, state, national, or international organization listed in WAC 246-810-0293.
  • Distance learning programs approved by an industry-recognized local, state, national or international organization or educational organization may meet these requirements. The programs must require a test of comprehension upon completion. Distance learning programs are limited to 12 hours per reporting period.
  • Other learning experiences, such as serving on a panel, board or council, community service, research, peer consultation, or publishing articles for professional publications are acceptable if the experience contributes to the advancement, extension, and enhancement of the professional competence of the certified counselor or certified adviser. The experience is limited to six hours per reporting period. See WAC 246-810-029.
What are recognized institutions of higher learning and local, state, national, and international organizations?
  • Activities that meet the requirements of WAC 246-810-029 and are offered by the following entities are eligible for continuing education credit:
  • Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work
  • Washington Chapter of the National Association of Social Work
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Clinical Social Work Association
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Washington Mental Health Counselors Association
  • National Board for Certified Counselors
  • Association for Humanistic Psychology
  • The Association for Integrative Psychology
  • Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care
  • Institutions of higher learning that are accredited by a national or regional accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation
  • Washington Professional Counselors Association
  • State Association and National Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers
  • National Association of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselors
  • Other organizations recognized by the secretary and included on a list maintained by the department

See WAC 246-810-0293.

How are credit hours determined for preparation and presentation of a lecture or an educational course?

A certified counselor or certified adviser who prepares and presents lectures or education that contributes to the professional competence of other counselors or mental health providers may accumulate the same number of hours obtained for continuing education purposes by attendees. The hours for presenting a lecture or education on a specific topic may be used only for continuing education credit once during each reporting period. See WAC 246-810-0295.

How are credit hours determined for preparation and presentation of a lecture or an educational course?

Acceptable continuing education documentation for certified counselors and certified advisers include transcripts, signed letters from course instructors, certificate of completion, or other formal certification, as required in chapter 246-12 WAC, Part 7.

The certified counselor or certified adviser must provide documentation that demonstrates fulfillment of continuing education requirements only when requested by the secretary. When renewing your certification every two years, you'll make an attestation of having completed the hours.See WAC 246-810-0297.

How do I become an approved CE provider?

The department does not pre-approve continuing education (CE) for certified counselors and certified advisers or CE providers. If you wish to provide CEs for certified counselors or advisers, you should contact the organizations listed in WAC 246-810-0293 to inquire their process for gaining endorsement.

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