16 Apr 2022


Pennsylvania State Board Credentialing

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Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 1651

Pages: 5

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In order to practice as a professional counselor, there are specified channels that must be followed as stated by the board in charge depending on the State in question. Some of the channels include acquiring credentials and following all the regulatory processes required. Credentials may include licenses, certificates, and any relevant documents. They may entail the competency of the counselor, the work experience, the level of education and the approval of the local government for his or her practice (Counselor-license.com, 2016).

The Different States of the government have different credentials since the National government is not in charge of formulating the credentials but the State and local government is and they vary from one state to the other. In this case, we shall take a look at the credentialing board of Pennsylvania and expound more on how they operate.

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Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB)

Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB), is a non-profit institute that has taken upon itself to foresee the development of all requirements for certification and also the requirements of attaining other credentials that have been of assistance to the growth and development of individual’s professionalism in their careers. PCB understands every need of its clients and hence offers services that keep these clients highly professional through the provision of knowledge, experience, and examination. 

PCB voluntarily offers credentialing to behavioral health and substance abuse professionals while implementing the standards that determine whether or not to grant certificates to its professional clients who range from, counselors, clinicians, specialists just to mention but a few.

Mission : The mission of PCB is “to establish, to protect and to monitor the standards of certifications for professionals who handle behavioral health and substance abuse field. It also advocates for quality and comprehensive services to these fields and offers management services to other organizations that relate to it.”

PCB’s Regulatory Authority and Scope

While working with professionals, PCB has its statutes and rules that govern its activities. We shall take a look at them and describe the discipline(s) regulated by the board and the scope of its authority to regulate professional practice.

Applications : while applying for the credential certifications, applicants are expected to follow certain criteria and must abide by some rules. This includes: The required official transcript is supposed to be sent to the PCB office directly from the college or university. Again the applicant is advised to request the transcript approximately twenty – one days before their application. The applicants are expected to provide copies of certificates to prove training attendance. In case the applicant is under employment they are expected to provide the relevant documentation which should be provided by their employer. 

The applicants are expected to submit an explanation letter together with their application in case they ever received disciplinary action from other authorities dealing with certification and licensing, or if by any chance they were convicted. The application fee can be paid either by check or money order payable to PCB, or the applicant can pay via VISA, MasterCard or Discover. In case the application is denied or canceled before the exam, the applicants are entitled to a refund equivalent to one – half of the fee. Refunds can only be withheld in the case where the applicant fails to meet all the requirements of the certification within the allocated period of time which is always open for one year.

Applicants are notified about the exam scheduling after approval of their applications. On the other hand, the applicants are notified via email in case their application is found with any problems. 

Computer Based Testing (CBT): Every PCB credential applicant is expected to take their examination through a Computer Based Testing (CBT) process, which is a process that is on demand and is convenient to the candidates because it allows them to take their exam in any approved site at their on preferred time. When the candidates’ application is approved, they are pre – registered directly to the testing company by PCB.

Other examinations are done traditionally – the pen and paper way. Some of the fields that are expected to handle the exams manually are; the recovery specialist, allied addiction practitioner and case manager. Once the application of these field’s applicants is approved, they are later notified by PCB.

Emeritus Status: An Emeritus Status has been established by PCB in order to involve certified retired professionals who would love to maintain a connection to PCB. In case they are approved or not, they will be notified via email seven to ten working days after receiving the request. For one to be eligible for Emeritus Status they must be certified, at least of age fifty – five, and must have a minimum of ten years of certification without the lapse in the certification. 

The Emeritus Status must be requested in writing from PCB, the applicants must include documentation for eligibility with the request, a fee of $60 should be paid every two years and applicants of this status do not need to continue.

Inactive Status : This status was established by PCB to allow certified professionals experiencing less serious circumstances, and is looking for ways to keep their certification from expiring. It is meant for certified professionals who intend to stay inactive for at least a minimum of six months and hence the inactive status helps them to avoid the process of reapplication. Other professionals who may fit in the Inactive Status certification are the certified professionals who are not able to meet the requirements of furthering education probably because of their health or personal reasons (Pacertboard.org, 2016).

State Board / Committee Structure

The State Board Committee is responsible for the functionalities of everything that takes place on the board. Every board member has their own place of duties which contributes to the ease of the job done. 

The President: This is the board member who heads the board and he makes the final decisions after discussions. The current board President is known as Richard Forster; he is a CAADC – Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drugs Counselor, CCS – Certified Clinical Supervisor, and CCJP – Certified Criminal Justice Addiction Professional (Counselor-license.com, 2016).

The Vice President: He or she is second to the president in terms of powers. The vice president has the ability to do all the president responsibilities under instructions or in the absence of the president. Lori Simons is the current Vice President and is a CAADC - Certified Associate Addiction Counselor, CCDP – Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomate.

The next committee member is the secretary whose responsibilities are to record every event, and take minutes of all board meetings and every agenda discussed. The current PCB secretary is Marilyn Stein, Certified Allied Addiction Practitioner – CAAP.

The treasurer is in charge of all the financial statements and recording from the board committees. Currently, this position is held by Sandra Grottola, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor – CADC. Other committee members of the board are, Thomas Baier - CADC, CCS, Dennis Deal CADC & CCDP Diplomate, Patricia Lutz – CAADC & CCDP Diplomate, Theresa Murphy, CADC, Stephanie Murtaugh - CADC, CCS, CCJP & CCDP Diplomate, Arlene Prentice – CAADC, Paul Toth – CAADC, CCDP Diplomate and Jared Young, CAADC (Pacertboard.org, 2016).

According to the 2016 PCB Newsletter, some of the topics included on the board committee agenda include the Award recipients where PCB recognizes certified professionals who have dedicated themselves in their areas of expertise. For instance, the 2016 ‘Certified Professional of the year’ is David A. Rotenberg, CAADC, and CCDPD (Ethical & Legal Issues, 2016). 

Another topic of agenda that is discussed by the committee is the PCB Annual Conferences that are held to educate and partner with other organizations for the expansion and growth of PCB. In addition, the topic on social media concerning the risks and opportunities for behavioral health practitioners in another topic dealt with in the committee agendas.  The committee also discusses the possible Policies to be implemented and also enact other policies that are made possible in the board meetings.

Summary of Requirements for Licensure and Certification in the State

Some of the requirements of Licensure and Certification in Pennsylvania range from the level of education, the application process, the examinations, the supervised practice and rehabilitation counselor amongst others. Let’s view what is needed in the list of requirements.  Education: for one to acquire a License in Professional Counseling they must have acquired a Master’s Degree in professional counseling or any related field and their degrees must be granted by a school that is within that region.  Examinations: In order to license a professional counselor, the state of Pennsylvania accepts certain examinations like National Counselor Examination (NCE) and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination (CRC).  Application Process: the application should be done online except for the retiring professionals.  Supervised Practice : The higher the applicant’s level of education, the less their hours of work under supervision.

Description of the Credentialing/Licensing process

As viewed earlier, the process of acquiring a license begins from the applicant submitting their application form and making sure they have followed instructions. After submission, the application shall be reviewed by the PCB and they determine whether or not the applicant is approved. If the applicant is approved, he will be examined and after their success in the examination, he will work under supervision for a certain number of hours depending on their education level.

Description of the Complaint Process

In case an individual intends to file a complaint against an already certified professional or an applicant seeking certification, then they must fill in the PCB Complaint form available on the PCB website and mail the complaint in sealed envelope named ‘confidential.’ The numbers of complaints processed in a month differ from month to month because of the complaints in cases of unresolved complaints from certified colleagues then the certified profession is required to report the uncorrected complaint within ninety days from the time of the violation. Some of the cited disciplinary outcomes include effective suspension and revocation.

Law Issues

In cases of conflicts and complaints that cannot be addressed or handled by the board, they are forwarded to the judiciary. The federal government enacts policies that affect the counselors directly. For instance, if a counselor is handling a client who has a case in the court, the court may request the counselor to release some information of the client believed to be helpful to the case without the client’s consent (Ethical & Legal Issues, 2016). This legal document is referred to as Subpoenas. In such cases, not even the board has a say or power to address this issue. 


Counseling is a very intense and profound field that requires a lot of checking. This is to make sure that the certified professionals have the required qualities that can help them in handling their jobs while in practice. The qualities are not only leveled on education, and work experience, but in addition, the certified professionals must have a quality character and attitude that will go handy with their achievements to make sure that their field of profession offers effective services especially to their clients. 


Ethical & Legal Issues,.(2016). Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling Ethical Standards and Laws Retrieved 12 September 2016, from http://www.sulross.edu/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/users/docs/education/counseling-ethics_6.pdf

Counselor-license.com,. (2016). Counselor License Requirement Certification Counselor-License.com Retrieved 12 September 2016, from http://www.counselor-license.com/

Pacertboard.org,. (2016). Pennsylvania Certification Board Retrieved 12 September 2016, from https://www.pacertboard.org/

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