Apply for a license
- Apply online
The Washington State Department of Health requires that only the applicant or licensee may complete an attestation for an application, or for continuing education. This is a legal attestation. Completion of the attestation by anyone other than the applicant may constitute a reportable felony offense. The Department of Health can take action against people for perjury or for making a false statement they know to be false.
For further information please see:
- Continuing Education; WAC 246-12-180; How to prove compliance
- Initial and renewal credentialing of practitioners; WAC 246-12-020; How to obtain an initial credential
Washington State law authorizes the Department of Health to obtain fingerprint-based background checks for licensing purposes. This check may be through the Washington State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We may require this if you have lived in another state or if you have a criminal record in Washington State. This would be at your own expense.
You must pay the application fee at the time you apply. You may use a credit or debit card with a VISA or MasterCard logo, or pay by ACH/E-Check. Please make sure your address on the payment information screen matches the address your financial institution has on file for you. This fee is non-refundable. There is a convenience fee to apply online.
If we need additional documentation, we'll notify you by email.
There are additional items you may need, in addition to your application:
If you have questions, contact our Customer Service staff members at 360-236-4700.
Online Application Instructions
See the online application video.
Online application instructions are on our website. Online applications are accessed through SecureAccess Washington (SAW) security portal. You'll need to add the Department of Health Online Application Portal service to access the online applications. The first time you add the service, you'll be prompted to answer several questions to verify your identity. The questions will match the name and address you provide with the existing public record information. Because the questions come from public record, you need to provide a complete address and your full legal name as it appears on your driver's license or birth certificate. You may find you have to enter a former address, especially if your address has changed recently (within the past one or two years) to get the right questions that pertain to your identity. If don't have sufficient information in the public record to verify your identity and aren't currently credentialed by the Department of Health, then you'll need to submit a paper application, as you won't be able to access the Online Application Portal.
Once you have completed the process you will receive an email with your pending credential number, or you may look on Provider Credential Search. Refer to this credential number any time you contact Department of Health or submit paperwork.
- Apply on paper
The following PDF forms are required for completing the application process. Please download and print forms.
If you're having problems viewing a document, download the latest version of the free document Viewers and Readers.
- See certification fees below
Non-Refundable Fee Type Fee Amount Fee effective June 1, 2023 Initial certification $285 $620 Exam or reexam $85 $85 Renewal $250 $745 Late renewal penalty $125 $300 Expired certification reissuance $100 $100 Duplicate credential $10 $10 Certification verification letter $25 $25
Primary Source Verification Letter (PDF)
- See certification requirements below
- Have an associate degree including a supervised internship in a counseling-related field
- Pass the Washington State Certified Adviser Examination in risk assessment, ethics and appropriate screening using the global assessment of functioning scale, client referral and Washington State law
- Have a written supervisory agreement
Official transcript with degree and date posted, received directly from applicant's program. Transcripts not in English must have an official translation.
Applicants may create an exam account on the Webassessor site. You'll receive notification by email when your application has been approved. If an account hasn't been created you'll be unable to register for an exam. Study references for the exam are available on our exam webpage.
State license verification
Applicants must list all states where they do or did hold credentials. This list must also include when the applicant has applied for a credential, even if a credential was not granted. The jurisdiction where the applicant is or was credentialed must complete and submit the verification form (PDF). The jurisdiction must send the completed form directly to the department.
Personal data questions
Each applicant must answer the personal data questions. If there is a positive answer to the professional liability claims history question, the applicant must send an explanation of the nature of the case, data and summary of care given, copies of the original complaint, and the settlement or final disposition. If the case is pending, applicant must indicate status.
Applicants must create an account to schedule their certified counselor or certified adviser examination with the exam company, Webassessor. Applicants will be notified via e-mail, once all other credentialing requirements have been met. Once approved, you may register for the exam. The computer-based exam will be administered individually at various test center locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. When scheduling an exam, applicants must: select test center location; choose date and time; and pay online, via credit or debit card. See the Exam Information Frequently Asked Questions webpage.
Additional information/documents required
- Note: A certified counselor may treat clients with a global assessment of functioning of 60 or less if conditions in RCW 18.19 and WAC 246-810 are met. A certified counselor must not be the sole treatment provider for a client with a global assessment of functioning score less than 50.
Process for approving/denying applications
We finish final review for approval after a credentialing specialist verifies that the application is fully complete, and complies with requirements in RCW 18.19 and WAC 246-810. We complete background checks and make sure applicants have submitted required fees. Credentialing supervisors and lead workers have the authority to approve routine applications. The disciplining authority may conduct further review if the credentialing supervisor can't verify the applicant meets all requirements. We'll formally notify applicants of a denial. Those applicants may request a hearing to appeal the decision.
Renewal and continuing education requirements
Certified counselors must renew their license every year on or before their birthday. They're required to submit the appropriate fee and renewal card. Certified counselors are required to complete 36 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years. Six hours must be in ethics and three hours must be in suicide assessment, including screening and referral every six years.