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Child Therapy Licensing in North Carolina

If you are planning to work in the child therapy field in the state of North Carolina, then you may be wondering whether or not you require a license to practice therapy and, if so, how to go about getting it. Whether or not you will require a state license will depend heavily upon the exact job that you wish to do. If you do end up requiring a license, then you will need to find the appropriate licensing board, again based on your exact profession, and meet its requirements for licensure. Typically, this will require you to complete a statewide examination and to have a certain number of hours of supervised experience working in the field. You will also likely have to renew your license every few years, which will include meeting certain requirements for renewal, such as attending continuing education courses.

A good way to tell whether or not you will require licensure for the job you wish to do is to look at where you are educationally. If you possess only an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree, for example, then you will not need licensure for the jobs for which you will be eligible. While associate's degrees alone do not enable you to work in the field, you can find entry level work with only a bachelor's degree or, better yet, with a bachelor's degree and several certifications. However, you cannot actually practice therapy with these degrees and therefore will not need to be licensed.

Only those who practice actual therapy, meaning they are assuming a lead role in working with clients, will require a licensure from one of the state's many organizations. If you have a master's degree or a doctoral degree and are looking for work, then you are more than likely going to require a license for any job you are interested in.

While a license can be a real pain in the butt to get, once you have it, you are ready to practice therapy and are eligible for basically any job you desire in the field. A license should be thought of as a "stamp of approval." It lets everyone else, including and especially your clients, know that you have been highly trained in providing therapy to children and that you, in short, know your stuff! In order to make sure that people keep up their hard work, state licensing agencies set in place requirements for license renewal every few years. How often you will have to renew your license will depend heavily upon the licensing agency and your exact job title and description.

When you do receive your license, make sure that you read carefully through all the rules and duties of holding the license. Breaking any of these and getting caught is cause for you to lose your licensure and your right to practice child therapy in the state. Getting arrested on charges related to harming or abusing children, for example, is grounds to lose your license. In some cases, however, things like failing a continuing education course may also be grounds for suspension or loss of your license, so make sure you know the rules so that you can follow them.

If you end up moving from the state of North Carolina, whether or not your license goes with you will depend upon the state you are moving to and the requirements of its licensing authority. Generally, you may have to take an extra class or two to meet the new state's requirements, but your license tends to stay mostly valid wherever you go.