Sex Offender Treatment Provider - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to be certified to treat convicted sex offenders in the state of Washington?

Yes, with one exception. According to state law, no person shall represent himself or herself as a certified sex offender treatment provider or certified affiliate sex offender treatment provider without first applying for and receiving a certificate pursuant to this chapter (RCW 18.155.030). In addition, the law specifies that only a certified sex offender treatment provider, or a certified affiliate sex offender treatment provider who has completed at least 50 percent of the required hours under the supervision of a qualified supervisor, may perform or provide sex offender treatment services listed within RCW 18.155.030 (2).However, the law exempts employees of state-run facilities or treatment programs.

Does a sex offender treatment provider and affiliate sex offender treatment provider need an underlying credential to become certified?

Yes. RCW 18.155.020 (2) and (3) requires that a certified sex offender treatment provider and affiliate sex offender treatment provider hold a credential as a licensed psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed social worker, licensed mental health counselor, or is a psychiatrist as defined in RCW 71.05.020.

This does not include people with an associate license. A full license is required to be eligible for any type of sex offender treatment provider certification.

What if I was licensed before the above requirements were adopted and I don't have one of the underlying credentials listed?

People credentialed by the Department of Health as a sex offender treatment provider before June 11, 2020 are considered to have met the requirement of holding an underlying health license or credential as listed above, provided their original underlying license or credential remains active and in good standing.

People who are currently licensed in affiliate status, and who have a credential not listed above, will still be able to complete their training, and to apply for full licensure and practice, as long as their original underlying license or credential remains active and in good standing.

What are the other requirements to become a sex offender treatment provider?

Certification: The law allows three routes for a person to obtain a certification as a sex offender treatment provider. All applicants are subject to a background check.

The standard and alternate routes require that a person have a master's or doctoral degree in an approved field, 50 hours of formal conferences, an underlying behavioral health credential as specified by RCW 18.155.020 (2), three professional references, and pass a jurisprudence examination. The training requirements are as follows:

Standard route: As an affiliate sex offender treatment provider, obtain 2,000 hours of treatment and evaluation experience with at least 250 evaluation experience and 250 treatment experience hours. The type of experience that qualifies is in WAC 246-930-350. All experience must be obtained within the 10 years preceding the application for full certification

Alternate route: 2,000 hours of direct sex offender specific treatment and assessment services under the direction a qualified supervisor in a state-run facility or state-run treatment program in Washington or in another state or territory of the United States, and currently maintains professional involvement in the field; or two years full-time experience under the direction of a qualified supervisor working in a state-run facility or state-run treatment program in Washington or in another state or territory of the United State providing direct sex offender-specific treatment and assessment services, and currently maintains professional involvement in the field.

Route for qualified out-of-state applicants: If a person holds or has held within the past 36 months, a credential in good standing from another state or territory of the United States that is deemed to be substantially equivalent to Washington state requirements, they are considered to have met the educational and training requirements. These people must have an underlying license as specified by RCW 18.155.020(2), three professional references, and pass a jurisprudence examination.

Affiliate Certification: You must have a master's or doctoral degree, an underlying credential as specified by RCW 18.155.020 (2), a supervision contract, three professional references, and pass a jurisprudence examination.

Who supervises and trains an affiliate provider?

An affiliate provider may practice only under the supervision of a qualified supervisor. There are three ways for a person to qualify to be a qualified supervisor:

The qualified supervisor is a person who meets the requirements for certification as a sex offender treatment provider, or the qualified supervisor has at least 2,000 hours of direct sex offender-specific treatment and assessment services, and continues to maintain professional involvement in the field, or the qualified supervisor has at least two years of full-time work in a state-run facility or state-run treatment program providing direct sex offender-specific treatment and assessment services, and continues to maintain professional involvement in the field.

If a qualified supervisor is not certified as a sex offender treatment provider in Washington state, the supervisor must sign and submit an attestation form to the Department of Health.

What types of questions are on the exam, how many questions are on the exam. and what is the minimum passing score?

The written exam has 150 questions. The questions include assessment, evaluation, treatment, monitoring, theory, research, standards of practice, ethics, victimology. and jurisprudence. The passing score is 90 percent.

What is the cost and time-frame of renewal for the certified and affiliate credentials?

Providers must renew every year on their birthday. The fees are on our licensing information webpage. Fees will be waived for providers in underserved counties who are contracted to provide treatment services to person on conditional release.

What are the continuing education requirements?

Both certified and affiliate providers must complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years. (WAC 246-930-410)

What is acceptable documentation for proof of continuing education hours?

Acceptable documentation includes a certificate of completion, program or course transcripts, or a letter from the instructor or presenter. (WAC 246-12-200)

What is the difference between a certified provider and an affiliate provider?

A certified sex offender treatment provider independently evaluates and treats sex offenders. An affiliate sex offender treatment provider evaluates and treats sex offenders under the supervision of a certified provider (WAC 246.930.010).

How may I find out if a provider is certified or an affiliate? May I find the status of their certification?

You may check a provider's status on our Provider Credential Search. A certified provider will have a credential number beginning with FC. An affiliate provider will have a credential number beginning with AF.

Is a list of providers, for treatment purposes, available to the public?

Yes, a directory of providers is available on our website. Contact us with questions at 360-236-2991.

How may I find out if a provider has a complaint against his or her certification?

You may check a provider's status on our Provider Credential Search.

Is information regarding complaints available to the public?

Yes. You may make a public disclosure request by contacting our Public Disclosure Records Center.