The National Health Service Corps has opened its loan repayment program application cycle for 2013. The program, operated by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, provides loan repayment assistance for health care professionals who work in health professional shortage areas. Health care providers can receive up to $60,000 for an initial 2 years of full-time clinical practice in return for working at an approved service site in a shortage area.
Licensed professional counselors are recognized under the program as mental health service providers. To qualify for the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program, LPCs must:
· Have a master’s or higher degree with a major study in counseling from a school accredited by a U.S. Department of Education nationally recognized regional or state institutional accrediting agency;
· Have at least 2 years of post-graduate supervised counseling experience;
· Be certified as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) or a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor by the National Board for Certified Counselors; and
· Have a current, full, permanent, unencumbered, unrestricted license to practice independently in the state in which they will be practicing.
Applications are being accepted from applicants who either 1) are working at an NHSC-approved service site; or 2) have accepted an offer of employment at an NHSC-approved service site and will begin employment at that site by July 15, 2013.
For more information, visit the National Health Service Corps’ website at http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loanrepayment/ The site includes a link allowing you to search for NHSC-approved sites looking to hire mental health clinicians with loan repayment support.