There is an entirely new educational requirement that has been written into GA law that must be understood and complied with by all licensed social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists. Failure to comply with this requirement is failure to comply with GA law.
Below you will find answers to Frequently Asked Questions concerning this new Law.
New Educational Requirements in Diagnosis / Psychopathology for Licensed Master’s Level Clinicians: Social Workers, Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists
Who needs to take this program?
All licensees regulated by the Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, i.e., LAPCs, LPCs, LMSWs, LCSWs, LAMFTs, LMFTs who:
1) are “working with people with mental illness, developmental disability, or substance abuse”; and
2) have not completed a three (3) credit graduate level course in diagnosis (such as psychopathology) or 45 hours of approved training in diagnosis; and
3) received your LCSW, LPC, LMFT after April 26, 2006 or did not maintain their independent licensure (LCSW, LPC, LMFT) for at least ten (10) years as of April 26, 2016.
What is the deadline for compliance?
As of midnight, December 31, 2017, all persons whose licensure is regulated by the Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists who do not qualify for exemptions as noted below must have completed the educational requirements related to the approved diagnose curriculum .
What are the exemption guidelines for this requirement?
Clinicians licensed at the Independent level (LCSW, LPC, LMFT) for at least TEN (10) YEARS before April 26, 2016, and maintained your license without interruption, or issues – and are in good standing with the Composite Board -shall be grandfathered in and exempt from these requirements.
If you received your independent licensure (LCSW, LPC, and/or LMFT) AFTER April 26, 2006 you are NOT exempt.
What courses or training will count as having met the educational training requirement?
Clinicians who have completed a graduate level course of a minimum of three (3) credit hours in “diagnose” (such as Psychopathology or Differential Diagnosis) will be considered to have fulfilled their education requirements under this Law. The Licensing Board, by law, will decide the curriculum and training program is acceptable. As of the date of this notice, the Licensing Board has not finalized a rule on the requirements under the new LAW, but the Board is working towards completion of a rule which may be ready within the next several weeks.
Because the educational requirement must be completed before January 1, 2018, LPCA has been engaged in the development of a best practice training program – in collaboration with several Georgia organizations that specialize in continuing education for mental health clinicians - that will thoroughly cover differential diagnosis educational training. This will include 45 hours of training in Psychopathology or Diagnosis designed specifically to address the educational requirement. Every one (1) credit hour is equal to 15 CE hours (3 x15 = 45).
As the rule is further clarified, any modifications to this program required to meet the Board’s standards will be made and integrated into the course content and structure.
Can I apply any of my undergraduate college courses towards the 45-hour requirement in Psychopathology / Diagnosis?
No. The law states “…the board shall develop a curriculum…” Curriculum is defined as the subjects comprising a course of study in a college-meaning one course. Current standards are a three (3) credit hour course.
If I covered aspects of Psychopathology / Diagnosis as part of several different graduate level courses, can I apply the total number of hours of study in Psychopathology / Diagnosis towards the three (3) credit hour of graduate education requirement?
No. Only a three (3) credit hour graduate level course specifically in diagnose such as Psychopathology / Diagnosis may be applied towards this requirement, and proof of such a course must be on the graduate school transcript.
Who may approve the 45 hours of training in Psychopathology / Differential Diagnosis so that the program will count as having met the educational requirement?
As noted, the new rule has not been completed, licensing board will assign approval bodies.
May I count the 45 hours of training in Psychopathology / Diagnosis towards the biannual CE requirements in core and ethics hours?
Yes. The 45 hours of training will fulfill the 35-hour CE requirement for the biannual licensure cycle 10/1/16-9/30/18 as long as the approved training meet other requirements for training in continuing education, such as limitations on the number of online hours and the requirement that ethics training be conducted in a live, face to face format.
Who will be offering the 45-hour training program in Psychopathology / Diagnosis?
An eight-module training program specifically designed to meet the 45-hour diagnosis training requirement equal to the college curriculum of a course in psychopathology is being developed through a collaborative effort of yourceus.com (www.yourceus.com), CEU Concepts (www.CEUConcepts.com), the American College of Psychotherapy, TMH Professionals and LPCA (www.lpcaga.org), and will soon be offered to the public. Completion of all 45-hours and a passing score on a post-test will result in a Certificate of Specialization in Diagnosis. If and when the Board completes the rule specifying the requirements to be compliant with SB 319/Act 337, this Certificate of Registration would serve as proof of completion. Registration will be available on all websites noted above in this paragraph. Other programs from other training professionals may also be offered and clinicians should seek additional information from their professional association.
May I take any of the training program modules online?
Yes. Online versions of material from the first two modules of the 45-hour training program will be available on the yourceus.com web site. However, if you wish to apply any of the online training in Psychopathology / Diagnosis towards your 35-hour biannual CE requirement, you must remain compliant with rules concerning a 10-hour limit for online training and the requirement that ethics training be conducted in a live, face to face format.
Where will I be able to register for the 45-hour program being offered?
Registration is currently available on the Live Training page of this web site.
What will be included in the cost of the program?
At each module, attendees will be provided with extensive handouts on differential diagnosis that collectively will form a workbook. These handouts will serve as a preparation guide for the post-test, and as a useful reference guide for actual clinical practice.
When will the 45-hour program be offered?
The first module of the 45-hour training program in Psychopathology / Diagnosis will be offered March 10, 2017, with modules 2-8 to follow from March – June. For the convenience of attendees, modules will be held on Fridays and Saturdays. A second complete 45-hour, eight-module program will also be held in the fall.
Will I be able to take some of the modules during the March-June program and some of the modules during the program to be held in the fall?
Yes. Whether you register for the full 45-hour program or register for each module individually, you may take modules whenever they are most convenient for your schedule. As long as all 8 modules have been completed, you will be eligible for the Certificate of Specialization in Diagnosis
Will the training program be accessible to all areas of Georgia?
Yes. Efforts are currently underway to develop the capacity to have online streaming of the training program to training sites convenient to all parts of Georgia. At each of the multiple distant sites, a live facilitator will be available to verify attendance, lead live training exercises, answer questions and distribute handouts, so you may use the program to fulfill your CE requirements towards re-licensure.
At this time, the Georgia Licensing Board has not completed and finalized a rule on the requirements under the new LAW. The Licensing Board, by law, will decide what course or training program is acceptable. The course requirement must be completed before January 1, 2018, so LPCA has been engaged in the development of this best practice program that will thoroughly cover the psychopathology / diagnosis educational training. As the rule is further clarified, any modifications to this program to meet the Board’s standards will be made and integrated into the course curriculum of this 45-hour program.