Registration, Accreditation, Certification, & Licensing
If you are considering counselling as a career, you will need to know what kind of regulation, registration and licensing is required in your area. Requirements vary by country and can even vary within countries, for example from province to province in Canada. This document provides up to date (as of May 2020) general information, but we also encourage you to do your own research. In its current form, our program is the best fit for those who feel drawn to our emotions-based, experiential approach, and who want to open a private practice (as opposed to work in an agency, where a traditional education would be the easiest path).
Our counsellor training program is designated by the Private Training Institutions Branch (BC Canada) and accredited with the National Council of Psychotherapists (UK) and has received the Educational Quality Association (EQA) seal of approval. This means that we are a legitimate training provider or private college whose program and operations have been examined by these outside bodies. But this does not mean our program is accepted everywhere, in the same way as a degree earned in one country will not necessarily be recognized in another country.
Upon completing all requirements and graduating with a diploma from our Practitioners Training Program (PRAC), students can apply for registration with an association or governing body in their area or country. At that time, they become “Registered” and then have license to practice in that area (with insurance).
Counselling in Canada
Graduates of Clearmind International Institute (CM) who choose to practice in Canada will have the option of registering with a counselling association, and in some provinces, you may also register with a provincial college (see below for information on your province).
Counsellors trained through Clearmind may apply to register with a counselling association which provides credentials, access to insurance providers, and governs its members. Our students are eligible to apply to the Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists (ACCT), and the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA), both of which use competency-based criteria to determine whether an applicant is suitable for registration.
Please Note: Due to regulations in some Canadian provinces you may only be accepted for registration with the above two associations if you are also eligible to register with the counselling ‘college’ in that province.
Prior to full graduation, Level Three students who have completed all course work and assignments and live in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba may also be able to register with ACCT as a candidate member, check the (ACCT) website for more information.
Canadian Counselling Regulation (Colleges)
In Canada, regulation of a profession, such as counselling, is the responsibility of provincial governments. Currently all provinces have regulated or are in the process of regulating; once regulated it is expected that provinces will go ahead and create professional counselling colleges.
Regulation in each province is different, however; in the regulated provinces, the only people that CAN use the title “counsellor” or “psychotherapist”, or wording such as “registered”, “counselling” or “psychotherapist” are those who are members of the College in that province. Further to this, Ontario and Quebec have regulations in regards to only allowing those registered with these two Colleges to practice counselling in their province.
For more information in your province, please see the following links:
Canadian provinces with Colleges in place:
- Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists: www.nscct.ca requires Master’s Credential Education
- Ontario College of Registered Psychotherapists: www.crpo.ca requires Master’s Level Education/Training (competency-based training)
- College of Counselling Therapist New Brunswick: www.cctnb.ca requires Master’s Credential Education (competency-based training)
- Quebec: www.ordrepsy.qc.ca requires French Exam and Master’s Credential Education
Provinces not yet regulated but in the process of submitting proposals that are competency-based:
- British Columbia: www.factbc.org
- Saskatchewan: www.fact-sk.org
- Manitoba: www.fact-manitoba.org
- Newfoundland and Labrador: www.fact-nl.org
- Alberta:https://www.acta-alberta.ca/ currently taking applications for those eligible to ‘grandfather’ registration membership with the Alberta College of Counselling Therapists expected to open in 2021.
- Prince Edward Island Counselling Association: peica.org/ requires Master’s Credential Education
There has been much debate in Canada as to whether the requirements to counsel or provide psychotherapy would require a university degree, or be ‘competency-based’, which means that the skills required would be identified and measured. The currently unregulated provinces are working on college proposals that would be competency based rather than credential based. “Master’s Credential” means a master’s degree in the field from a recognized university, “Master’s Level” means having education and training similar in hours and content to a degree, which can be provided by a recognized institution other than a university (such as ours). As it currently stands, graduates of our program may register with the ACCT or the CPCA and work in all unregulated provinces and may apply to the competency-based colleges (expected in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) with their CM diploma combined with other education/training (see ‘The Evolution of our Practitioners Training Program’ for more information on our future plans to completely meet requirements).
What Happens when a Regulating College comes into Effect?
When a college is put in place, there is a certain amount of sensitivity towards those who have been operating in good faith under whatever system had been in effect until that time. For example, in the past in Ontario, and currently in Alberta they put in place a two year ‘grandfathering’ process where those currently practicing could apply to be recognized under the new college, through a less intensive application process. In the same way, it is expected that registered and practicing members of the CPCA and the ACCT (for over three years) will be ‘grandfathered’ into the new BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba colleges without having to strictly meet the requirements of the new college, for a specified period of time. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict what the new colleges will require, and how they will navigate the ‘in between’ time, until they are legislated into effect. Therefore, how many of our current student body graduate, become registered and can be grandfathered through to the new BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba colleges will depend primarily on when the colleges come into effect.
The Evolution of our Practitioners Training Program (PRAC)
Clearmind has been preparing for a new Canadian college, that shall be governing counsellors, for a number of years. Our program is arguably the largest and most well-established non-university counsellor training in British Columbia. The largest portion of our student body is in BC, therefore, we have been gearing our program mostly towards the BC requirements. We believe government-based regulation of the profession is important to ensure public safety, as well as potentially provide greater opportunity for our graduates. As we received information on the counselling competencies that would be required by a BC College, we adjusted our program accordingly.
BC, however, has had difficulty getting cooperation from the various provincial governments to legislate a college into being. As a result, other provinces have created colleges that have then influenced the shape of what was being proposed in this province. The most significant shift in BC in the last year is toward a college that would require a ‘Master’s Level’ education, meaning it would require content and hours similar to a university M.A. program – including an undergraduate university degree or equivalent pre-requisite. Therefore, we adjusted our program to meet the hours/content requirements, and competencies, and changed the pre-requisite requirements for PRAC.
Because of this information, and because we are tired of trying to anticipate college requirements in BC that could change, we have decided to gear our program toward Ontario’s requirements as defined by the already established Ontario College of Registered Psychotherapists (OCRP). That governing body has an established process for recognizing competency-based training programs, unlike other competency based provincial colleges. We plan to apply to the OCRP for recognition within the next two to three years, as they are the only provincial college that has a process for recognition of competency-based counsellor training institutions.
Specifically, the significant change we made was that PRAC 2 students will require a pre-requisite of an undergraduate university degree or equivalent by prior learning assessment recognition (PLAR). A prior-learning assessment is a means of examining post-secondary education and work experience, and awarding credit towards the pre-requisite. Students who entered PRAC 1 in 2019 will have to meet this requirement as they move into PRAC 2 in 2020.
Academic hours achieved in PRAC 1 may be used in conjunction with post-secondary education and work experience towards the PLAR. Students wanting to take all three years of PRAC strictly for personal growth/leadership purposes, and who do not want a diploma, will still be able to take the program without meeting these requirements.
Despite the fact that this decision means changes that could impact potential students without an undergraduate degree or equivalent by prior learning assessment, we are excited about the possibility achieving this recognition opens up for our student body, in competency-based provinces and in the UK (see below). As our program currently stands, we are the best fit for those wanting to go into private practice. Achieving entry into competency-based provincial colleges should open up other counselling career possibilities for our grads, as theoretically everyone in the college would be seen as having the same basic credentials. We commit to continuing to keep you informed on this process.
Counselling in the UK
We are accredited with the National Council of Psychotherapists in the United Kingdom, which means that graduates of our program may apply to the NCP for recognition as a psychotherapist. The UK is governed by voluntary registration with counselling associations. In the UK, movement toward compulsory registration by government for therapists was resisted by many associations, so it continues to be a voluntary process. The BACP and NCS are the largest associations, and therefore hold the most power in the UK. Membership in the BACP is often required for agency jobs, but if private practice is your goal, membership in the NCP is a viable path to that end. We are planning to apply for recognition with the NCS is the UK, within the next two to three years, as part of the ongoing evolution of our program, to provide our graduates with more opportunity and recognition in the UK as well.