NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 33, NUMBER 15
MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2001
RULE PROPOSAL
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS
PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS AND REHABILITATION COUNSELORS

Additions are indicated by <<+ Text +>>; deletions by <<- Text ->>.
Changes in tables are made but not highlighted.

Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.1 and 17.1

Proposed New Rule: N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2

Authorized By: State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, Lois Johnson, Executive Director.

Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:8B-34, 45:8B-43 and 45:8B-44.

Proposal Number: PRN 2001-295.

Submit written comments by September 5, 2001 to:

Dennis E. Gonzalez, Executive Director
State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners
PO Box 45044
124 Halsey Street
Newark, New Jersey 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

Pursuant to the general rulemaking authority of N.J.S.A. 45:8B-34, 45:8B-43 and 45:8B-44, the New Jersey State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners (the Board), through the Committee of Professional Counselors and Rehabilitation Counselors (the Committee), is proposing amendments to clarify existing rules and to add a new fee to the fee schedule. The Board is also proposing a new rule which establishes the necessary criteria a licensed professional counselor must satisfy prior to utilizing the specialty designation of clinical mental health counselor. This new rule is being proposed to reflect statutory requirements at N.J.S.A. 45:8B-44, effective since 1994.

N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.1(a) sets forth that a licensed professional counselor may utilize a professional specialty designation provided that the licensee is certified as a clinical mental health counselor; career counselor; gerontological counselor; school counselor; or master addictions counselor. However, the proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.1(a)1i establishes that if a licensed professional counselor is certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) or any successor as a clinical mental health counselor, that individual must also satisfy the requirements set forth in the new rule, N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2, before utilizing a professional specialty designation.

The Board proposes new rule N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2, Clinical mental health counselor. Under N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2(a), a licensed professional counselor may utilize the specialty designation of clinical mental health counselor and be issued a specialty permit provided that the licensed professional counselor submits the following to the Committee: a certificate that the applicant is a certified clinical mental health counselor from NBCC or any successor; proof of passing the comprehensive qualifying examination prepared by NBCC or any successor; an official transcript clearly indicating that the applicant has completed a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours in a mental health field at an accredited institution of higher education and the applicant has completed two years of post-master's degree field experience, which includes at least 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision of which no more than 20 hours may be group supervision.

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2(b), an applicant, upon biennial renewal of the specialty permit for clinical mental health counselor, must submit the following to the Committee: proof that the applicant is currently certified as a clinical mental health counselor from NBCC or any successor; and proof that the applicant has completed at least 40 hours of continuing education in courses or programs directly related to the mental health field.

The Board proposes an amendment to the fee schedule, N.J.A.C. 13:34-17.1. The amendment establishes a $50.00 fee for an initial specialty designation permit during the first year of a biennial period and a $25.00 fee for initial specialty designation permit during the second year of a biennial period. The Board also proposes to include a $50.00 fee for biennial renewal for a specialty designation permit.

Social Impact

New rule N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2 will have a positive social impact upon the public because it mandates that a licensed professional counselor satisfy certain requirements before being issued a clinical mental health counselor specialty permit. Thus, the new rule is likely to have a positive social impact upon those individuals seeking mental health counseling as it ensures that qualified licensed professional counselors are rendering clinical mental health counseling services. The proposed new rule also establishes that the licensed professional counselor with a specialty permit in clinical mental health counseling is qualified and knowledgeable in the mental health field. Thus, the proposed new rule makes certain that competent and qualified clinical mental health counselors enter the profession and continue in the profession to serve the consumer's mental health needs.

Economic Impact

The proposed amendments should have no significant adverse economic impact upon the regulated community or public. However, the proposed new rule, N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2, which establishes the specialty designation of a clinical mental health counselor, will have an economic impact upon the licensed professional counselor who wishes to utilize the specialty designation of clinical mental health counselor. Such counselors may experience an economic impact because they have to expend money to satisfy the additional requirements of obtaining an official transcript clearly indicating that the applicant has completed a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours in a mental health field at an accredited institution of higher education and proof that the applicant has completed two years of post-master's degree field experience. In addition, such counselors will experience an economic impact because they have to pay for the required continuing education courses or programs directly related to a mental health field. The licensed professional counselor who utilizes the specialty designation of clinical mental health counselor will be economically affected because there is a fee for the initial specialty designation permit as well as a fee for the biennial renewal for the specialty designation permit. Since there are only approximately 20 individuals who qualify for this permit, the economic impact is negligible. However, these costs are necessary to cover administrative expenses incurred by issuing the specialty designation permit and are greatly outweighed by the need to protect the health and welfare of the public and each person who receives clinical mental health counseling services.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because the amendments and the proposed new rules are dictated by State statute and are not subject to Federal requirements or standards.

Jobs Impact

The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments will either increase or decrease jobs in the State. However, the proposed new rule should have a positive impact upon jobs for the licensed professional counselor who holds a specialty permit as a clinical mental health counselor. Because the new rule conforms the specialty requirements to N.J.S.A. 45:8B-44, those licensed professional counselors with the specialty permit in clinical mental health counseling may become more marketable. The new rule also enhances the competence of each licensed professional counselor, thus again increasing these licensees' marketability and earning potential in the profession.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The Board believes the proposed new rule and amendments will have no impact upon the agriculture industry in New Jersey.

Regulatory Flexibility Statement

If, for the purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., (the Act), the approximately 2,000 licensed professional counselors licensed by the Board are deemed "small businesses," then the following analysis applies. The Act requires the Board to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed amendments and new rule, including the kinds of professional services likely to be necessary to comply with the requirements. The Act further requires the Board to estimate the initial and annual compliance costs of the proposal with an indication of the varying impact on small businesses of differing types and sizes. In addition, the Act requires the Board to outline the manner in which it designed the proposed amendments and new rule to minimize any adverse economic impact upon small businesses. The Board does not anticipate that the proposed amendment and new rule will require professional services.

Proposed N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2(a) imposes recordkeeping and compliance requirements upon licensed professional counselors who wish to utilize the specialty designation of clinical mental health counselor because the new rule establishes the criteria a licensee must satisfy before the Board issues a specialty permit to the qualified licensed professional counselor. A licensee applying for a specialty permit must submit the following to the Committee: a certificate that the applicant is a certified clinical mental health counselor from NBCC or any successor; proof of passing the comprehensive qualifying examination prepared by NBCC or any successor; an official transcript clearly indicating that the applicant has completed a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours in a mental health field at an accredited institution of higher education; and proof that the applicant has completed two years of post- master's degree field experience, which includes at least 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision of which no more than 20 hours may be group supervision.

In addition, proposed N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2(b) imposes compliance requirements on those professional licensed counselors who hold a specialty permit as a clinical mental health counselor upon renewal. The new rule requires licensees to submit to the Committee proof that the applicant is currently certified as a clinical mental health counselor from NBCC or any successor and proof that the applicant has completed at least 40 hours of continuing education in courses or programs directly related to the mental health field.

The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:34-17.1 impose compliance requirements upon licensed professional counselors who are applying for or renewing specialty permits as a clinical mental health counselor. The proposed amendments establish a fee the licensed professional counselor must pay before being issued the initial specialty designation permit and a fee the licensed professional counselor must submit when biennially renewing his or her specialty designation permit.

The Board has designed the proposed amendments and new rule to further the health, welfare and safety of all persons who receive professional counseling services; thus, the Board believes that the provisions must be applied uniformly to every practitioner in order to assure uniformity in the provision of counseling services and no differing compliance standards based upon size have been provided.

Full text of the proposal follows:

SUBCHAPTER 14. PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR SPECIALTY DESIGNATIONS

<< NJ ADC 13:34-14.1 >>

13:34-14.1 Specialty designations

(a) A licensed professional counselor may utilize a professional specialty designation provided that the licensee:

1. Is certified in one of the following specialties by the NBCC <<+or any successor+>>:

i. Clinical mental health counselor <<+pursuant to the requirements set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:34-14.2+>>;

ii.-v. (No change.)

2. (No change.)

(b)-(d) (No change.)

<< NJ ADC 13:34-14.2 >>

<<+13:34-14.2 Clinical mental health counselor +>>

<<+(a) A licensed professional counselor may utilize the specialty designation of clinical mental health counselor and be issued a specialty permit provided that the licensed professional counselor submits the following to the Committee:+>>

<<+1. A certificate that the applicant is a certified clinical mental health counselor from NBCC or any successor;+>>

<<+2. Proof of passing the comprehensive qualifying examination prepared by NBCC or any successor;+>>

<<+3. An official transcript clearly indicating that the applicant has completed a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours in a mental health field at an accredited institution of higher education; and+>>

<<+4. Proof that the applicant has completed two years of post-master's degree field experience, which includes at least 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision of which no more than 20 hours may be group supervision.+>>

<<+(b) Upon biennial renewal of the specialty permit for a clinical mental health counselor, an applicant shall submit the following to the Committee:+>>

<<+1. Proof that the applicant is currently certified as a clinical mental health counselor from NBCC or any successor; and+>>

<<+2. Proof that the applicant has completed at least 40 hours of continuing education in courses or programs directly related to the mental health field.+>>

SUBCHAPTER 17. FEES

<< NJ ADC 13:34-17.1 >>

13:34-17.1 Fees

(a) The State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners shall charge the following fees in connection with the licensure of professional counselors and associate counselors.

1.-9. (No change.)

<<+10. Initial specialty designation permit:+>>

i. During the first year of a biennial period ......... $50.00
ii. During the second year of a biennial period ..........$25.00
11. Biennial renewal, specialty designation permit........$50.00


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Posted August 6, 2001