Alphabet soup: What do all of those letters mean behind my therapist’s name?

First, what is the difference between a license and a certificate?

A license is generally determined by a state regulated board to ensure the public that a person is qualified to do their field of work. The idea is to protect the public with requirements, qualifications, application process and a code of ethics.  A certificate is to safeguard that the holder is up to date with best practices in the profession and to unite the field though standards of those in the counseling profession.

Here is a list of some common acronyms in the helping field (some vary by state): 

LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor
A Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Louisiana this counselor has met state requirements allowing them to legally be recognized as a counselor including a Master’s degree and 3000 hours of supervision.

NCC- National Certified Counselor
A National Certified Counselor (NCC) has completed educational requirements set by the National Board for Certified Counselors and passed a standardized test for Counselors.

CI- Counselor Intern
A Counselor Intern (CI) has a Master’s degree and is under supervision of a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor as they work towards meeting the Louisiana State licensure hour requirements for a Licensed Professional Counselor.

LMFT- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) has a Master’s degree specifically geared toward marriage and family and has significant experience working with this population.

LAC- Licensed Addiction Counselor
A Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) has earned a masters degree and has completed 2000 hours of supervision.

CAC- Certified Addiction Counselor
A Certified Addiction Counselor  (CAC) has earned a bachelors degree and has completed 4000 hours of supervision.

RAC- Registered Addiction Counselor
A Registered Addiction Counselor (RAC) has a high school diploma and has completed 6000 hours of supervision.

CIT- Counselor in Training
A Counselor in Training (CIT) is actively pursuing a career as a Certified Addiction Counselor, Licensed Addiction Counselor or Registered Addiction Counselor.

LPC-S- Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor
A Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPC-S) is able to supervise counselor interns as they work towards licensure.

CRC- Certified Rehabilitation Counselor
A Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) has earned a Master’s degree and serves people with disabilities.

For more information: 

Louisiana Professional Counselors Board of Examiners
http://www.lpcboard.org 

Louisiana Addiction Regulatory Authority
http://www.la-adra.org 

National Board for Certified Counselors
http://www.nbcc.org/Certification-Licensure 

Rebecca Waltner, M.Ed, CI, NCC