Required Background Check
The background check policy is being implemented as a requirement for students entering the program and for students entering the practicum/internship phase of Liberty University’s Graduate Counseling degree programs. Background checks have become a requirement in our partnerships and affiliation agreements with practicum/internship sites. Because of this change in climate, background check receipts from Castle Branch will now be a required part of the application process for the practicum and internship. In order to be eligible for practicum or internship application, submit your application now to Castle Branch.
Additionally, some state licensure boards require background checks and have stringent background requirements that determine an individual’s eligibility for licensure. Therefore, the Leadership Team of the Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies believes it to be unethical to allow students through the Graduate Counseling licensure degree programs to later find they would be ineligible to become licensed or find employment in their state.
The following degree programs are required to purchase a Background Check through CasteBranch:
- M.A. in Professional Counseling: Must purchase during COUC 500 and prior to applying for COUC 698 Practicum and COUC 699 Internship.
- M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy: Must purchase during CEFS 500 and prior to applying for CEFS 698 Practicum and CEFS 699 Internship.
- M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Must purchase during COUC 500 and prior to applying for COUC 698 Practicum and COUC 699 Internship.
- M.A. in Addictions Counseling: Must purchase during CEFS 501 and prior to applying for ADCN 699 Internship.
- Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision: Must purchase prior to applying for the Ph.D. program and prior to COUC 998 Practicum and COUC 999 Internship.
We pray that you will view these changes as a personal benefit to you. These improvements will help to enhance the value of your degree and ultimately contribute to increasing the quality of the program.
- Failure to complete the background check while enrolled in Orientation to Counselor Profession Identity & Function (COUC 500) or Ethical & Legal Issues in Counseling (CEFS 501) will result in a hold being placed on the student’s account which will prevent future registration.
- All licensure-track Graduate Counseling students are required to complete the background check prior to practicum/internship approval. Students must submit a copy of background check receipt as part of the application and approval paperwork process.
- Candidates are responsible for any fees that are associated with any of the available background packages. Full background checks take approximately 3- 5 days from submission of forms to receive a report (clearance/non-clearance). This service is supported by Castle Branch. All fees associated with any of the available background packages will be paid directly to Castle Branch.
- Students who wish to pay for their background check with a book voucher may do so through MBS Direct. For Orientation to Counselor Profession Identity & Function (COUC 500)/Ethical & Legal Issues in Counseling (CEFS 501) and for students submitting an initial application for practicum/internship, you will select the “Counseling Initial Background Check” package listed under Orientation to Counselor Profession Identity & Function (COUC 500)/Ethical & Legal Issues in Counseling (CEFS 501) on the MBS Direct website. MBS charges a processing fee, so the cost is higher to purchase the background check package through MBS Direct instead of purchasing it directly from the Castle Branch website.
- If a student orders a background check for another program at Liberty (e.g. Education, Master of Public Health, etc.), the Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies will review an appeal on a case-by-case basis. Students may appeal to COUNbackground@liberty.edu.
- For practicum/internship application, students must submit a copy of the receipt from Castle Branch as proof of purchase of the background check package. The criminal background check portion of the package must have been completed within one calendar year of the first day of the academic semester in which the student is applying for practicum or internship. If the criminal background check was completed more than one calendar year from the first day of the academic semester in which the student is applying for practicum or internship, then the student must order a background re-check through Castle Branch.
- Some practicum/internship sites may require students to undergo a drug screen or additional background check as part of that site’s screening process. If this is the case for your potential practicum/internship site, then Castle Branch has an option drug screen packet that may be purchased if your site requires a drug screen. Liberty University does not currently require the drug screen as part of its practicum/internship application process. Students will need to check with their site regarding the requirement of an additional background check or screening and are responsible to complete those with the site.
- The following document provides instruction on how to utilize the Castle Branch website to purchase a background check.
Questions concerning the background check may be sent to COUNbackground@liberty.edu.