How to Become a Licensed Counselor in North Carolina

How Do I Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in North Carolina?

Like many other state’s, The North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors’ offer two levels of licensure. Upon finishing all the necessary requirements, a future counselor is initially issued a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate(LPCA) license.  Then, once the supervised practice and additional exam requirements have been fulfilled a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) license will be issued. Once licensed, future counselors in North Carolina will be joining one of the most enthusiastic and active professions in the state. Since 1993, when the North Carolina Legislature passed into law the LPC Act, providing licensing for professional counselors, hundreds of thousands of professional counselors have helped the people of North Carolina by promoting positive development among those they serve.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in North Carolina?

Recent breakthroughs in new collaborative approaches between private sector practice and public sector payment policies have put North Carolina’s mental health care on the national stage. As health care continues to evolve in the United States, North Carolina is poised to be a leader in redefining both the private and public sectors of the industry. The North Carolina Counseling Association is one of the most active such associations in the nation and is committed to providing more educational opportunities for counselors in the ever changing landscape of mental health care as well as continue to address the mental health needs of North Carolina’s diverse population.

North Carolina’s future counselors are required to complete graduate coursework, supervised experience, and receive a passing score on the National Board for Certified Counselors(NBCC) National Counselor Examination(NCE),  the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination(NCMHCE), or the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination(CRCE). This mixture of a qualified degree, from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), passing a nationally recognized exam, and the supervised experienced gives a future counselor the skills and experience they’ll need to best serve the people of North Carolina. The full licensure requirements can be found at the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors website.

What Are the Supervised Experience Requirements to Become a Counselor in North Carolina?

The supervised practice requirement for the LPC license is 3,000 total hours. Applicants are allowed to move at their own pace within a range of at least 8 hours a week and no more than 40 hours. 2,000 of the total hours are required to be accrued during direct client contact. 100 hours must be spent in clinical supervision, with one hour of clinical supervision for 40 hours of practice. The applicant’s approved clinical supervisor will guide them through various sessions of co-therapy and observation. A supervision contract must be submitted before the future counselor can begin accumulating hours. Progress is reported quarterly until all the necessary experience is complete.

At the end of this process, application for a full license will be enabled dedication from the supervisor and the licensee to keep good records throughout the supervised experience.

What Are the Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors accepts a passing score on three different exams. The National Board for Certified Counselors(NBCC) National Counselor Exam(NCE), the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination(NCMHCE), and the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination(CRCE).

The NCE consists of 200 multiple choice questions designed to assess knowledge, skills and abilities of licensure candidates. You will receive your score within 8 weeks of the examination. Study guides are available via the NBCC.

The NCMHCE consists of 10 simulated clinical mental health counseling cases that are designed to sample a broad area of competencies. You will receive your score within 6 weeks of the examination. Study guides are also available via the NBCC.

The CRCE consists of 175 multiple-choice questions administered during an allotted 3 ½ hours within an 8-day testing window. You will receive your score within 5 weeks of the examination. A practice test is available at CRCcertification.com.

Note: For more information on how to become a counselor in the state of North Carolina, please visit the The North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors.

Counseling Career Outlook In North Carolina

Specific salaries of licensed professional counselors will vary greatly depending on level of education, specialization, location, licensing, and the type of counseling provided. The Bureau of Labor Statistics average yearly income for professional counselors is between $34,000-$48,000 per year. According to EducationNews.org professional counselors in North Carolina realized a 15% increase in salaries between 2006 and 2010. The same statistics reveal a salary range of between $32,242 to $64,780 per year, due in large part to whether a counselor is in a private practice, part of of state program, agency, or practicing independently.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from North Carolina

Additional Resources for North Carolina Applicants: