Professionals and Para-Professionals that Frequently work with Individuals on the Spectrum

When choosing the right therapist for your child, it is always helpful to follow up on the credentials, licensure and experience of each professional that will be working with your child.  The following information is not all inclusive, but offers a list of the most common professions that provide services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The following professions MUST have a license to practice:
  • ALC - Associate Licensed Counselor
  • BCBA - Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • LCSW - Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • LPC - Licensed Professional Counselor
  • NCC - National Certified Counselor
  • OT - Occupational Therapist
  • PT - Physical Therapist
  • Psychiatrist - Medical Doctor with additional training in field of psychology - only MD’s can write prescriptions for medications at this time
  • PsyD - Clinical Psychologist (PhD level with emphasis on counseling)
  • SPL - Speech Language Pathologist
The following professionals MAY or MAY NOT have a licensure requirement, depending on individual State Governance Boards:
  • M Ed. - Master’s of Education
  • Psychometrician - Master’s level of educational achievement: individual is trained to administer a variety of psycho-social assessments (not necessary to have a degree in ‘psychology’). 
  • PhD - Doctorate level in a particular field of study
More information:
An M.D. (doctor of medicine) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) who specializes in diagnosing and treating medical conditions, including mental disorders, and can prescribe medication.

The psychiatrist is a physician that has specialized training in the field of psychology. A psychiatrist can diagnose disorders and prescribes medication and therapy. The psychiatrist may also refer the patient and/or family to others for ongoing talk therapy while focusing on medications.

Licensed Psychologist:
A counselor with a doctoral degree in psychology (Psy.D.), philosophy (Ph.D.) or education (Ed.D.). Trained to make diagnoses and conduct individual and group therapy. Only psychologists are able to administer many of the tests used to measure a young person’s intellect and psychological health.

All of the mental health professionals listed below are trained to make diagnostic impressions and provide individual and group counseling. What’s the difference, then? Their degrees and perhaps their area of specialty.

Licensed Professional Counselor:
Master’s degree in psychology, counseling or a related field.

Marital and Family Therapist:
Master’s degree, with special education and training in marital and family therapy. May also have a doctorate degree.

Mental Health Counselor:
Master’s degree and several years of supervised clinical work experience.

Psychiatric Nurse:
Registered nurse (R.N.) with specialized training in psychological disorders.

Social Worker (Clinical):
Master’s degree in social work (M.S.W.); Licensed Clinical Social Workers (L.C.S.W.) have additional supervised training and clinical work experience.

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