How to Become a Licensed Counselor in West Virginia
How Do I Become a Professional Counselor in West Virginia?
The medical field is one of the fastest-growing fields in the country, and the same goes for the state of West Virginia. Those who want to pursue a career that allows them to improve lives and make a difference should consider a career in counseling. With the right educational background and training, individuals can become a professional counselor in the state of West Virginia, enjoying competitive pay and a rewarding career.
What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in West Virginia?
With the wide range of work a counselor can perform, it’s best to have a solid educational background and in-depth training. On-the-job experience can give counselors the confidence and knowledge to assess patients and understand how best to help the people that are counting on them. The state of West Virginia requires candidates for licensure to obtain a master’s degree in counseling or a very closely related field. A specialized training will also be accepted, such as clinical counseling, rehabilitation counseling, addictions or substance abuse counseling, etc.
|Education Requirements||Education Length||Available Programs|
|Undergraduate Work||Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling||4 Years||Online or Campus|
|Graduate Work||Earn a Master's Degree in Counseling||5-6 Years||Online or Campus|
|PHD or Doctoral Work||Earn a Doctorate in Counseling||7-8 Years||Online or Campus|
The master’s program should be accredited by one of the following:
- The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
- The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
- The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
- The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
- The Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE)
In these training programs, individuals will study things like human behavior and development, counseling theories, individual appraisal, emotional disorders and dysfunctional behavior, and lifestyle and career development.
What Are the Supervised Experience Requirements to Become a Counselor in West Virginia?
By accumulating supervised experience, future counselors obtain unique knowledge and wisdom that can only come from on-the-job training. West Virginia law (Board of Examiners in Licensing – Series 1 Licensing Rule) requires individuals to gain supervised experience based on their highest degree level. For a master’s degree, you will need to accumulate at least 3,000 hours. Half of those hours should be “direct client counseling care,” meaning that you will need to work directly with clients.
If you have obtained a doctoral degree in counseling, you will only be required to accumulate 1,500 hours of post-degree supervised experience. It’s important that you apply for a provisional license through the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling prior to starting your supervised experience. Once you have obtained the provisional license, you will have 3 years to complete your requirements.
What Are the Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in West Virginia?
The examination required by West Virginia is the National Counselor Examination (NCE), which is offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. This exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions, covering a wide range of counseling topics. You must apply to the West Virginia Board of Examiners before taking this examination, and pay the required fee. Once you’ve taken the exam, you’ll receive notification of your score within three to four weeks. Those who have passed and who have met all other requirements will be eligible for licensure.
Note: For more information on how to become a counselor in West Virginia, please visit the West Virginia Board of Examiners.
Counselor Career Outlook In West Virginia
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2,880 counselors employed within the state of West Virginia, including mental health counselors, rehabilitation counselors, substance abuse counselors and other types. Their mean annual salaries range from $30,970 to $42,200 and those with more experience tend to earn higher salaries. Pay is also dependent upon your location within the state.