Licensure, Degrees, Certifications, Registration and Academies:
A Description Of Credentials

By:  Mentor Research Institute
Revised:  May 21, 2014


Understanding the meaning and value of a licensure, certification, academies and registration can be difficult.  To most people, these terms are used by practitioners to represent their qualifications.  Many people, including some practitioners, do not understand what these terms and the letters after a professional name mean.  The following will hopefully begin to clarify these issues.

In the most general terms, graduation from a degree program assures minimal to excellent level of academic training and possibly clinical training that may be associated with a supervised clinical practicum or internship.  Greater education can make a difference, but education alone is not adequate.   Certifications provide some assurance that a professional has participated in an examination and may include lecture, study, practice and supervision.  However, certification is only as good as the certifying organization and the quality of certifying organizations can range from excellent to poor.  Registration as a therapist, counselor, Hypnotherapist or professional, etc.. is less meaningful than than licensure and certification and does not really predict competence or the quality of care you will receive.  Academies are an interesting phenomena.  A professional's membership in an academy does not predict the quality of care you might receive.  The effect on treatment outcomes has not been established.   Offering certifications, registration and membership status in academies and professional organizations is the primary way for these organizations to make money, fulfill the organization's mission and to protect the public. 

The State of Oregon licenses mental health professionals such as counselors, psychologists,  social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychiatrists to practice in health care.  Further information is available from the specific State Boards that are responsible for regulating practice.

Title Description
ABCN American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology - Diplomate  
ABPP American Board of Professional Psychology - Diplomate  
ACSW Academy of Clinical Social Workers  
ADTR Academy of Dance Therapists Registered  
ATR Registered Art Therapist  
BCD Board Certified Diplomate (Social Work)  
CADC Certified Alcohol/Drug Counselor  
CCMHC Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor  
CGP Certified Group Psychotherapist  
CHT Certified Hakomi Therapist  
CMHC Certified Mental Health Counselor Washington  
CSW Clinical Social Worker - Washington  
CSWA Clinical Social Work Associate  
DDiv Doctorate of Divinity  
DNSc Doctorate of Nursing Science  
EdD Doctorate of Education  
FAClin.P Fellow in the Academy of Clinical Psychology  
LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker Oregon  
LMFT Licensed Marriage Family Therapist - Oregon  
LMT Licensed Massage Therapist - Oregon  
LPA Licensed Psychologist Associate  
LPC Licensed Professional Counselor - Oregon  
MA Master of Arts Degree  
MDiv Master of Divinity Degree  
MEd Master of Education Degree  
MFCC Marriage Family Child Counselor - California  
MPS Master of Pastoral Studies Degree  
MS Master of Science Degree  
MSW Master of Social Work Degree  
MSWAC Master Degree in Social Work Addictions Counseling  
NACCMHC Nat'l Assn. of Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselors  
NACFT National Academy of Certified Family Therapists  
NCC National Certified Counselor  
ND Naturopathic Doctor  
PAC Certified Physician's Assistant  
PhD Doctorate of Philosophy  
PMHNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner  
PsyD Doctorate of Psychology  
QMHA Qualified Mental Health Associate  
QMHP Qualified Mental Health Professional  
RN Registered Nurse - Oregon  
RNCS Registered Nurse Clinical Specialist