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How to Become a Licensed Professional counselor

The journey to becoming a licensed professional counselor can be long, even when one has affinity and aptitude for professional counseling. First off, every state requires anyone aspiring to be a professional counselor to undergo a licensing process. Again, the requirements for a professional counselor vary from one state to the other. Some states have different requirements while others may have similar requirements. But that notwithstanding, there are some minimum requirements that applicants must meet to practice as professional counselors regardless of the state whether they hail from. Here are the minimum requirements for becoming a licensed professional counselor in most states.

Educational Requirements

The minimum educational requirement in all states is a bachelor’s degree and an educational background in psychology. Completing an undergraduate program in counseling or pursuing a psychology minor can be beneficial for students aspiring to become licensed professional counselors. For licensing, most states requires at least a master’s degree in counseling psychology or counseling programs such as family counseling , counseling ethics, cultural diversity as well as individual and group counseling Most master’s degree programs in professional counseling requires students to choose a specialty like school counseling or family and marriage therapy.

Get a License to Practice as a Professional Counselor

Besides the minimum educational requirements, almost every state requires students to pass an exam administered by NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors). Students are also required to meet work experience requirements outlined by the NBCC. To be considered for licensure, students need 2,000-4,000 hours of proven clinical experience under supervision.
Become Certified in CounselingTo finally become a licensed professional counselor, applicants have to be certified by National Certified Counselor (NCC), offered by NBCC. They are also required to pass the NCE (National Counselor Exam) to earn certification. The exam is a 200-multiple choice test.


Becoming a licensed professional counselor isn’t that complicated. In fact, one is only required to meet their state’s minimum requirements to be considered for licensure. Please check with your state’s website to find out the exact requirements you are supposed to meet to become a licensed professional counselor.