(a) To be eligible for a license to practice professional counseling, an applicant must:
(1) Be of good moral character;
(2) Be at least eighteen years of age;
(3) Be a citizen of the United States or be eligible for employment in the United States;
(4) Pay the applicable fee;
(5)(A)(i) Have earned a master's degree in an accredited counseling program or in a field closely related to an accredited counseling program as determined by the board, or have received training equivalent to such degree as may be determined by the board; and
(ii) Have at least two years of supervised professional experience in counseling of such a nature as is designated by the board after earning a master's degree or equivalent; or
(B)(i) Have earned a doctorate degree in an accredited counseling program or in a field closely related to an accredited counseling program as determined by the board, or have received training equivalent to such degree as may be determined by the board; and
(ii) Have at least one year of supervised professional experience in counseling of such a nature as is designated by the board after earning a doctorate degree or equivalent;
(6) Have passed a standardized national certification examination in counseling approved by the board;
(7) Not have been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude under the laws of any jurisdiction:
(A) If the applicant has never been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude, the applicant shall submit letters of recommendation from three persons not related to the applicant and a sworn statement from the applicant stating that he or she has never been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude; or
(B) If the applicant has been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude, it is a rebuttable presumption that the applicant is unfit for licensure unless he or she submits competent evidence of sufficient rehabilitation and present fitness to perform the duties of a licensed professional counselor as may be established by the production of:
(i) Documentary evidence including a copy of the relevant release or discharge order, evidence showing compliance with all conditions of probation or parole, evidence showing that at least one year has elapsed since release or discharge without subsequent conviction, and letters of reference from three persons who have been in contact with the applicant since his or her release or discharge; and
(ii) Any collateral evidence and testimony as may be requested by the board which shows the nature and seriousness of the crime, the circumstances relative to the crime or crimes committed and any mitigating circumstances or social conditions surrounding the crime or crimes and any other evidence necessary for the board to judge present fitness for licensure or whether licensure will enhance the likelihood that the applicant will commit the same or similar offenses;
(8) Not be an alcohol or drug abuser as these terms are defined in section eleven, article one-a, chapter twenty-seven of this code: Provided, That an applicant who has had at least two continuous years of uninterrupted sobriety in an active recovery process, which may, in the discretion of the board, be evidenced by participation in a twelve-step program or other similar group or process, may be considered; and
(9) Has fulfilled any other requirement specified by the board.
(b) A person who holds a license or other authorization to practice counseling issued by another state, the qualifications for which license or other authorization are determined by the board to be at least substantially equivalent to the license requirements in this article, is eligible for licensure.
(c) A person seeking licensure under the provisions of this section shall submit an application on a form prescribed by the board and pay all applicable fees.
(d) A person who has been continually licensed under this article since 1987, pursuant to prior enactments permitting waiver of certain examination and other requirements, is eligible for renewal under the provisions of this article.
(e) A license to practice professional counseling issued by the board prior to July 1, 2009, shall for all purposes be considered a license issued under this article: Provided, That a person holding a license issued prior to July 1, 2009, must renew the license pursuant to the provisions of this article.