How to Become a Counselor in Mississippi

How Do I Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Mississippi?

Since 1985, when the Mississippi Legislature passed into law the Act providing licensing for professional counselors, Mississippi residents have had access to high-quality counseling services in areas like geriatric counseling, pediatric counseling, couples counseling, substance abuse counseling, grief counseling, and more. Today, about 1,930 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor jobs in Mississippi ensure that the state’s citizens continue to benefit from outstanding counseling care delivered by highly qualified, licensed professionals.

Learning how to become a counselor in Mississippi begins with familiarizing yourself with the licensing requirements set forth by the Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in Mississippi?

The first step to becoming a counselor in Mississippi is the completion of a master’s or doctoral degree that’s either accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or has the word “counseling” in its title and meets the structure of CACREP, which includes at least 60 semester hours and the following courses:

  • Human growth and development
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Counseling and psychotherapy skills
  • Group counseling
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Testing and appraisal
  • Research and evaluation
  • Professional orientation to counseling or ethics
  • Theories of counseling psychotherapy and personality
  • Marriage and/or family counseling/therapy
  • Abnormal psychology and psychopathology
Counseling Educational Track
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

A growing number of colleges and universities now offer graduate programs in counseling in a hybrid and/or online format to accommodate busy, working professionals and those with geographical limitations. If on-campus study is inconvenient or even impossible, an online master’s degree in counseling may be right for you.

Find graduate counseling programs in Mississippi.

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What Are the Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in Mississippi?

Once you have completed an approved graduate degree in counseling, you must take and pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE), which is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Apply to take the NCE exam.

After you have achieved a passing score on the NCE, you’ll apply to become a Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor (P-LPC) in Mississippi. You must be licensed as a P-LPC before you can begin accruing the supervised experience hours necessary to become a Licensed Professional Counselor.

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

You’ll be required to complete at least 3,000 experience hours in no less than 18 months under the guidance of a Board-approved qualified supervisor. At least 1,200 of the required hours must be in direct services with clients and/or psychotherapy service to clients, and 100 hours must include individual, face-to-face supervision.

Once the experience requirements are met, you can apply for licensure as an LPC. Once the Board approves your application, you’ll qualify to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. The Board will then issue you a license as a Mississippi professional counselor.

Counseling Career Outlook In Mississippi

Between 2020 and 2030, the number of jobs for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Mississippi is projected to increase by 17%.

As of May 2022, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Mississippi earned a median salary of $43,180, while those at the upper end of the pay scale (90th percentile) earned about $66,020 during this time.

Rehabilitation counselors, who work with clients with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities overcome challenges to live independently, earned a median salary of $34,820 in Mississippi as of May 2022. Seasoned pros with significant experience earn salaries that closely reflect the 90th percentile, which was $58,680 during this time.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Mississippi

Additional Resources for Mississippi Applicants

As you explore counseling careers and the many sub-specialties often practiced by licensed counselors, you may also benefit from taking a look at similar professions and their earning power in Mississippi:

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET (a website sponsored by the US Department of Labor) job market trends and salary figures for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors and rehabilitation counselors are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2023.