The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS), in partnership with University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service, is revising the Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician/Community (MHRT/C) certification program to ensure its relevancy and responsiveness to the changing needs of the population it is designed to serve.
The MHRT/C certification program establishes educational standards and promotes skill-based practice for community based mental health workers. Over time, much has changed in the behavioral health field including the complexity of this community-based position and the qualifications of the individuals seeking to fill these roles. The redesign initiative has engaged several key stakeholder groups to assess needed changes, develop and design new program components, and revise certain procedures, policies, and processes for an applicant to earn provisional and full MHRT/C certification.
Below are a few of the updates and anticipated effective dates. Check back often to see what’s new!
Short-cut links to each section:
1. MHRT/C Competencies
The MHRT/C competencies have been revised and are organized into eight Domains. Domains I, II, and III are priority domains and will be required for provisional certification, depending on a new applicant’s educational qualifications. Click here for a complete list of the competency domains.
2. New Certificates
Beginning January 1, 2018, all MHRT/C certificates will be issued through the USM Muskie School’s Center for Learning (CFL). Newly issued Full MHRT/C certificates will have an expiration date, and can be renewed every two years upon completion of 18 hours of continuing education within that two-year period. (Please see #3.)
All MHRT II, III, IV, and C certificates without an expiration date will become invalid on January 1, 2020.
NOTE ABOUT SECURE EMAIL SERVERS: The above email address has problems with some secure email servers. Please submit your updated information from your home email address if your employer uses a secure email server.
If your name has changed since your MHRT/C (or MHRT II/III) was issued, please send us documentation of your name change such as a copy of your marriage license or your divorce decree.
We will be reissuing new certifcates as pdfs by email to those who provide us with updated contact information in monthly batches based on the month of original issue. Here are two examples:
1. An individual earned their MHRT/C on May 3, 2008, their certificate will be reissued in May 2019 and will be valid through May 31, 2021.
2. An individual earned their MHRT III on July 10, 1997, their certificate will be reissued (as an MHRT/C) in July 2019 and will be valid through July 31, 2021.
3. Continuing Education
Continuing education will be required to renew a Full MHRT/C certificate every two years. This educational training can be an academic course, a non-academic training or workshop, or a conference; it can be face to face or online, or an agency sponsored in-service learning session. Continuing education must pertain to the new MHRT/C competencies found in the eight domains (see #1). Eighteen hours of continuing education will be required, with a minimum of four hours in ethics. The MHRT/C certificate holder will be required to complete and submit a renewal application (see below) with documentation of the continuing education. Documentation should include a certificate of completion with the program title, trainer’s name, date of training, and number of hours. For online courses you may need to request a certificate of completion.
For a list of some training options please select this link: Continuing Education Resources You can certainly take other relevant training.
Renewal Form in Word (for use starting in 2020)
Please do not submit your renewal form and Continuing Education documentation any sooner than 90 days prior to the expiration date on your MHRT/C certificate.
4. Academic Programs
Maine colleges and universities are currently reviewing their existing programs and revising curricula to align with the updated competencies required for MHRT/C certification. We expect approved courses, certificates and degree programs will be available by fall semester 2019.
5. Mental Health System 101
A free online module titled “Maine’s Mental Health System 101: An Introduction to Our History, Values, Services, and Roles” is now available. The module is designed as an overview of Maine’s system and takes about an hour to complete. Click on this link to see the module.
6. Ethical Standards
Another enhancement to the certification program is an expanded focus on ethics. Domain III, “Ethics and Professional Conduct”, contains several competencies related to ethical practice, confidentiality, informed consent, professional behavior and more. Continuing education also includes an ethics requirement.
7. Code of Conduct
In line with a focus on ethics, an MHRT/C Code of Conduct was recommended by the MHRT/C Redesign Advisory Committee over concerns about instances of or the potential for unprofessional behavior and a lack of ethical guidelines and standards for MHRT/Cs. An Ethics Subcommittee convened to lay the foundation for the new Code of Conduct. SAMHS has decided to apply the Code of Conduct to both MHRT I's and MHRT/C's. A copy of the code can be found here (updated 3/28/18).
8. Provider Information Webinars
We held two informational webinars for providers on November 15 and 29, 2017. A summary of questions and answers (FAQs) is linked below, as well as links to recordings of the two sessions and a copy of the PowerPoint slides. We held another webinar on June 13, 2018 to update agencies on our progress.
9. Informational Newsletters
February 2, 2018: Online Training Module MH101
February 15, 2018: Continuing Education Requirements for Full MHRT/C
March 9, 2018: FAQs-New Certification Requirements
March 23, 2018: FAQs-Continuing Education Requirements
April 20, 2018: Credit for Work Experience
May 11, 2018: Where Things Stand
May 30, 2018: Webinar Reminder
June 8, 2018: Profile of an MHRT/C Certified Professional
July 24, 2018: Profile of an MHRT/C Certified Professional 2
September 17, 2018: Back to School!
October 12, 2018: Older MHRT certificates and Going Paperless
October 29, 2018: Continuing Education
December 21, 2018: More on Continuing Education
10. Credit for Work Experience
Formerly known as the Work Experience Waiver program, we have updated the Credit for Work Experience program as of May 1, 2018. Now, those with a qualifying degree need only six months of relevant work experinece to receive credit in place of an MHRT/C course requirement. For more information on this change and a list of qualifying degrees, please see the April 20, 2018 newsletter.
11. Updates FAQs
We have created a web page with answers to your frequently asked questions in regards to the updates to the MHRT/C program. We will add to this as more questions come in.
12. Paperless Certificates
Beginning on November 1, 2018, all Full and Provisional MHRT/C certificates, and all Full and Provisional MHRT I’s will be issued electronically as PDFs. MHRT/C’s will be sent directly to the individual. Therefore, we must receive the appropriate email address at the time of the application. Agencies may continue to request MHRT I certificates for employees.
If there is an extenuating circumstance, whereby a certificate cannot be received electronically, please let us know and we can make an exception.
For the time being, the MHSS and MHRT/CSP certificates will continue to be issued by mail.
This effort will not only save resources, it will enable certificates to be issued more timely, putting it in the MHRTs’ hands sooner. Thank you very much for your cooperation, and for your part in improving this process.
We will update this page as frequently as possible. Stay tuned to learn about the various pathways to certification, non-academic training options, updated guidelines, resources and more.