Texas LPC Board Rules & LPC Internship

Jan 22, 2016 by

GavelThe Texas LPC board (aka Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors aka TSBEPC) is keeping busy in the new year.

The long-time executive director of the board, Bobbe Alexander, recently retired.  Sarah Faszholz is serving as interim executive director.

TSBEPC also published some significant proposed changes to the LPC rules and regulations in the January 15th issue of the Texas Register.  Many of these edits are the same ones they proposed and later withdrew in May of 2015 (check ’em out here).

While some of the edits are there to clarify language, some are designed to change key elements of LPC internship in Texas, LPC supervision in Texas, and distance counseling by LPCs in Texas.

I suggest you read over the whole thing here: http://sos.state.tx.us/texreg/pdf/backview/0115/0115prop.pdf

And if you see something you disagree with, act now.  You can submit a comment up through Sunday, February 14th.  After that time, it’s out of your hands!

Here are some of the proposed changes that caught my eye.

The proposed changes

Relevant to LPC Interns:

1.) Including a clause that permits the board to take longer to process licensing applications than published requirements (20 business days—essentially one calendar month) if good cause is shown.

2.)  Counseling programs preparing students for LPC licensure will be required to include a class in couples, marriage and families as of August 1, 2017 as a part of the new 60-hour core curriculum requirement.

3.)  Applicants for LPC intern license do not have the right to a hearing if their application for licensure is denied based on applicant’s failure to meet academic requirements.

4.)  LPC interns may take an extended leave of absence from supervision & internship if approved and documented by their board approved supervisor.

5.)  If an LPC intern has excess practicum hours they are applying toward internship totals, only 200 of these may count toward direct totals.  (Yes, even if you have a surplus of 400 direct hours somehow—only 200 can count toward direct totals.)  This is true only for applications submitted prior to August 1, 2017.

6.) After August 1, 2017, surplus hours from practicum or pre-graduate internship may not be applied toward LPC internship totals.

7.)  An LPC intern can’t have more than 5 sites at one time.

Relevant to LPC Supervisors:

1.) Requiring counselors obtain five years of post-graduate experience before becoming supervisors, instead of three (effective June 1st, 2016).

2.)  Requiring that 9 of the 24 hours of continuing education must now be completed in a face-to-face setting, and the three required continuing education hours specific to supervision must be taught by an LPC-S.

3.)  Supervisors must keep much more detailed records of their work with interns than previously specified, much like requirements for work with clients, and they must be retained 5 years after the last date of supervision.  Supervisors also must keep hours logs for each week, initialed by both intern and supervisor.  For all the details, go to page 19 of the proposed edits in the Texas Register (link), under section 22 TAC 681.91-681.93

Relevant for Distance Counseling:

1.) Requiring counselors to have an initial face-to-face intake session before initiating a distance counseling relationship.

The board is proposing lots of changes.  The only change from last time that they dropped, which I’m sure most everyone is happy about, was a proposed hike in licensing fees of about 30-50%.

Here’s the thing—whether you agree with the proposed edits or you don’t, it’s important to take a moment to review them and if there’s something you feel strongly about, send in your comments.


Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to:

Sarah Faszholz, Interim Executive Director
Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors
Mail Code 1982
P.O. Box 149347
Austin, Texas 78714-9347

or by email to lpc@dshs.state.tx.us.

When emailing comments, indicate “Comments on Proposed Rules” in the
subject line. Comments will be accepted for 30 days following publication
of the proposal in the Texas Register.

This means you have up until Sunday, February 14th to make a comment!

To stay informed about upcoming Texas LPC board meetings, rule edits, and other exciting news, you can enroll in their email notification system by going here: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/

In the middle of the homepage is a section titled “Sign Up for Email Updates.” Even if you sign up for email notifications, you’ll still need to make a habit of checking the rules page from time to time.

Not practicing in Texas? Check with your own licensing board to see how things are handled.

Got an opinion about this latest batch of proposed edits?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. Le'Ann Solmonson

    A couple of clarifications to what you have posted. LPC Interns will not have to take a class in couples, marriage, and families. Counselor Education programs will be required to include that course in the degree plan of students who are seeking the LPC credential.

    Currently, you can carry over 400 excess practicum and internship hours from your graduate program into your LPC internship. As of August 1, 2017, you will NOT be able to carry ANY hours over. Regardless of the number of hours completed in your graduate program, all LPC Interns will be required to do the full 3000 hours.

    During the process of reviewing the rules, the Board did listen to feedback on several issues and incorporated that feedback into the rule change decisions. I was personally in several of those committee meetings and they allowed public comment at that time, which they do not have to do.

    • Ann

      Hi, Le’Ann! Thank you for taking the time to comment and offer some clarification on these changes. I completely missed the part about surplus hours being phased out as of August 1, 2017– and that’s a significant change for interns and will doubtless impact the planning of many students, so thank you for pointing that out. I’ve edited the post to help make things more clear– thank you!

      • Nallely Miranda

        I’m wondering if this went to effect, I can’t find a straight answer anywhere on the web. If I am doing my 300 practicum hours from August 2017-May 2018, can I count the 400 surplus or not? Did this actually end up changing?

    • An Agency LPC

      Ann, thank you for keeping people in our community informed about these changes. As an LPC who works in public mental health, I do not always have the means to stay informed as I would like, or attend committee meetings.

      I am not opposed to the idea of more restrictive rules, if they can be shown to benefit the consumers of counseling services in the state of Texas (my paraphrasing of what I understand the Board’s underlying mission.) In reviewing the cost/benefit analysis provided to the Texas Register about the proposed changes, I remain unconvinced that the changes have been demonstrated to be in the greater interests of our public. This is particularly concerning, given the fact that my perception is that – at least at the legislative level – there was a push for the expansion of services; as evidence, I would note that the 84th Texas Legislature authorized the Loan Repayment Program for Mental Health Professionals to encourage certain mental health professionals to provide services in designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas.

      Ms. Solmonson, given your familiarity with the committee process, I would appreciate some additional insight into your perceptions about the discussions that took place. I would have sought out the information myself, but unfortunately, it appears the Board has not approved any minutes since August 2013 (https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/lpc_meetings.shtm) I am especially interested if there was a representative mix of counselors from private practice and agency settings, as the impact of proposed changes seems to have a disparate impact.

      I know that where I work, supervisors are not enumerated for their services (even when providing supervision to other employees of the agency) and that there is a months-long waiting list for interns to get supervision unless they pay for it privately in the community. For those who wait, it is not a situation where they forego providing mental health services; rather, they seem to operate in a grey area between the provision of “case management” and “counseling.” If you consider that consumers served by agencies tend to be poorer and less-resourced than those who can seek out private counseling in the community, these rule changes will place a burden on many of the organizations that are tasked with serving our most at-risk populations and ultimately detract from the level of oversight exercised over some beginner clinicians.

      Thank you both for contributing to this discussion.

      • Ann

        Hi, Cory. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! I know there is a petition that is currently being circulated specifically about the proposed requirement for therapists to have an initial face to face session before beginning e-counseling. It looks like people are doing their best to make their opinions heard, even if they cannot make it to a committee meeting in person. It can be a real challenge to stay up to date on all the proposed changes to board rules, that’s one reason I’ve signed up for email notification about these and other changes. It helps me stay in the loop!

        Also, to follow up regarding a comment someone left earlier in the thread: the email I submitted seeking clarification about Julie’s question regarding surplus hours didn’t receive a direct answer. My email was forwarded on as a comment about the proposed rules, so it looks like I won’t be getting a direct response after all. It may impact how the board moves forward with the languaging of the rules, though. We will see!

        There’s still time to offer comment about the proposed rules, up until February 14th. Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts, Cory.

    • April West

      I am currently starting my internship this summer. How do I apply to receive credit for my 400 excess hours in practicum? I have been working as a school counselor so it has been some time since I completed my practicum.

      • Ann

        April, you’ll need to speak with your LPC supervisor about how y’all want to keep track of your surplus hours. Make sure you’ve got detailed records about where you earned your pre-graduate hours and supply your supervisor with a copy or summary.

  2. Julie

    Hi Le’Ann & Ann,

    I’m still a bit confused and hoping for clarification. Here’s an example: A LPC-Intern applies for intern status in March 2016 and is working to complete their 3000 intern hours. Since they are within the 18 month window and will NOT be a LPC by August 1, 2017, they will not be able to count one hour from their excess practicum? Or because they were a LPC-Intern prior to August 1, 2017, they will be able to count excess practicum hours?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Ann

      Hi, Julie. This is a great question and unfortunately I don’t have the answer yet. I’ve sent an email inquiring about how this rule would be enforced, if it is approved. I’ll post again once I have more information. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      • April West

        I would like the answer to this question as well.

  3. Kimberley

    Have we heard what the final decision is regarding which of these proposals will go through and if any of them are postponed or cancelled?

  4. Tiffany H.

    Can LPC interns counsel CPS clients?

    • Ann

      Hi, Tiffany. I don’t see why not! Of course, the board always has final say about whether or not they’ll approve your site. It’s probably best to check with your supervisor– and you can also email the board to double check as well.

      • Tiffany H.

        Thank you for that clarification. I remember as a practicum student it stated that we were not supposed to so was unsure due to not being fully licensed.

  5. Rosa M. Ramos

    Please send me an e-mail when new information is posted. Thank you,


  6. Olivia

    I went to an out of state school that has quarter hours. However, Texas is counting my hours as 2.6 of a semester hour. I am trying to get an LPC-I. Can I request to go to the board? My school has an agreement with the Texas board that the quarter hours are equivalent to the 3 semester hours Texas requires. It is a cacrep school. However, I’m getting push back on getting the board to review my case. Where do I go from here?

  7. Sarah

    I have a question. My supervisor told me that after I’ve completed my lpc intern hours, including the 300 from practicum (I hope they let me include these, when I applied and graduated, I was allowed to), she said even when I’m finished with the hours and send in my application to become an LPC that I have to continue in weekly supervision until they officially grant my LPC licensure. That seems crazy to me when they are taking months on end to respond to these applications. I know for sure that I can’t afford 250 a month beyond the point that I’ve completed my 3000 hours. Furthermore, I’m an LCDC so I should be able to continue to see clients under that scope without supervision once I’ve completed my hours. That’s my understanding anyways. I hope that makes sense and I would love some hopeful clarification. Thank you!

  8. Amber


    I am a bit confused, as I got my MA in Boston, where the licensure laws are much different. I have completed my Masters, passed my NCE, and am about to take my Jurisprudence exam, and I thought that that would make me eligible to apply for my LPC-I. I am seeing, however, that I need to have an internship site and supervisor already in place before I can apply? Is this true? If this is the case, I am finding myself in a catch22, seeing as how I cannot find a place that is willing to hire me prior to my acquisition of the LPC-I. Do you have any clarifications or suggestions that may be helpful?