If you’re a professional counselor in the state of Virginia and you need to renew your license, then the first thing you need to understand is that it’s all about deadlines. Mark your calendar! You’ll need to renew your license after your first year as a licensed professional counselor (LPC).
(But if you’re just wrapping up your first year as a licensed professional, you don’t need to worry about renewal. Just don’t forget next year.)
The process starts with an email from the board with your renewal notice. This notice should also include your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN). Expect this email sometime around 45-60 days before your registration’s expiration date.
So, make sure your email address is up-to-date.
How To Renew Your License As An LPC in Virginia
Resident licenses expire annually in the month the license was issued. You can renew your license by submitting a renewal form and payment online or by mail.
Practicing with an expired license leads to disciplinary action. You’ll need to make sure the Board has your contact information, and that you’ve earned continued competency credits, and present those records to the Board.
Update Your Contact Information
The Board of Counseling will contact you 45-60 days before your license expires to kickoff your renewal. It’s important to keep your contact information up-to-date to make communication seamless.
Make sure to update your address and email address by logging on to Virginia’s Online Licensing system or by downloading the form available from the Update Your Information page on the Board’s website.
If you need to alert the Board of a name change—such as after marriage—you’ll need to use the downloaded form. You cannot use the online licensing system to report name changes.
You need to report any changes in your contact information to the Board within 30 days of the change.
If you have not received a renewal notice, contact the Board’s office. Unfortunately, misunderstandings don’t relieve mental health professionals of their responsibility to renew their licenses. You’re responsible.
You can contact them at:
What Continuing Education Do I Need For Renewal?
- 20 hours of continuing education (CE). These educational hours can happen any time during the year preceding your renewal period.
- For example, in the year 2022, this continuing education needs to happen between 07/02/2021 and 06/30/2022. In the event of extenuating circumstances, like required military service, temporary disability, or disaster, you can request an exemption from the board.
- At least 2 of those 20 hours need to pertain to ethics. This involves renewing your understanding of the standards of practice and laws governing behavioral science in Virginia.
- You can complete up to 2 hours of the continuing competency hours through the delivery of your counseling service. They cannot compensate you for these hours.
- Usually, professionals satisfy continuing competency by serving lower-income individuals. These people usually access health services through their local health department or other free clinics.
What Can Count For Continuing Competency Credits?
- Regionally accredited courses from universities or colleges
- Workshops, seminars, conferences, and courses in the field offered by a federal, state, or local governmental agency
- Leadership positions such as an officer of the state or national counseling organization, editor or reviewer of professional journals, or member of the state or national counseling boards can count for a maximum of eight hours
- Language courses, software training, medical topics, and other practice-related programs can count for a maximum of 8 hours
- Presentations of new programs or developments can count for a maximum of 8 hours
- Clinical supervision or consultation received regularly with a set agenda, can count for a maximum of 10 hours
- Publication of books can count for a maximum of 18 hours
- Dissertations count for 18 hours but only count for continuing education once
Document Your Continuing Competency Requirements
As an LPC you need to keep original documentation for at least two years following your renewal. At the end of a renewal period, the Board may request an audit to verify compliance.
The following documentation can count toward these audits and proof for your renewal:
- For organized learning activities, you need to provide official transcripts showing credit hours or a certificate of participation
- You should document home study by identifying source material, providing a summary of the content, and a signed affidavit attesting to the study
- Documentation of professional activities can include:
- Certificates of participation
- Proof of presentations you’ve made
- Reprints of your publications
- Letters from an educational institute approving education programs
- Official notifications from associations that sponsor workshops or programs
- Documentation of attendance at formal staffing through a signed affidavit or form provided by the board
If your license expires, you can renew it within one year. There is a late fee as well as the license renewal fee.
You’ll also need to provide evidence of continuing competency requirements. If you miss renewal after one year, you can still reapply for licensure and pay the reinstatement fee.
If you’re reactivating an inactive license, make sure to submit:
- The renewal fee for active licenses minus any fee you’ve already paid
- Documentation of competency hours, equal to the number of years the license has been inactive (this cannot exceed 80 hours)
- Verification of the previous licensure
- You may also need to submit proof of your ability to perform functions within the scope of the practice.