There have been many questions regarding deadline changes to become a Tricare Certified Mental Health Counselor and new provisions in the latest the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) of 2016.

The CACREP requirement to become an independent TRICARE provider will be extended until January 1, 2022 (instead of 1/1/17). This will allow LPCs from other CHEA accredited schools to become independent TRICARE providers. After 1/1/2022, it will be required for counselors to graduate from a CACREP accredited program in order to become an independent TRICARE provider.


Beginning January 1, 2015 

  • Only those licensed counselors recognized as CMHCs will be authorized to provide services to TRICARE beneficiaries.
  • The criteria for the CMHC change to the following:
  1.  Possession of a state license for independent practice in mental health counseling issued by the jurisdiction in which the individual is practicing. In jurisdictions with two or more licenses allowing for differing scopes of independent practice, the licensed mental health counselor may only practice within the scope of the license he or she possesses.
  2. Possession of a master’s degree or higher from a mental health counseling education and training program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
  3. A passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) or its successor as determined by TRICARE.
  4. A minimum of two (2) years of post-master’s degree supervised mental health counseling practice that includes a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. Required supervision must be provided by a mental health counselor who is licensed for independent practice in mental health counseling in the jurisdiction in which he or she is practicing and must be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the American Mental Health Counselors Association guidelines for supervision.


NBCC has created an expedited examination registration form for counselors wishing to take the NCMHCE for the purpose of serving the military. Interested counselors can download and submit the form posted on the NBCC Web site: 

To read the original release in the Federal Register, go to

The Department of Defense is accepting comments on the regulations until February 27, 2012. NCCs seeking modifications to the regulations are encouraged to submit comments to the Department of Defense. Specific information on submitting comments is contained in the Federal Register.