How to Become a Licensed Counselor in Alaska
Excellent counselors are in high demand in the state of Alaska; according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the industry is expected to grow 25.3 percent through the year 2020. Those who are interested in becoming a counselor in Alaska must meet certain requirements set forth by laws and regulations within the state. These requirements are present to ensure that counselors are adequately qualified to treat patients of all kinds.
Education Requirements to Become a Counselor in Alaska
To become a counselor in Alaska, you will need to obtain at least a Master’s degree in counseling or a very closely related field. The program you graduate from should be accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency. Programs that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) are recommended.
The law requires that students obtain at least 60 units of counseling through their coursework; those who have a master’s degree in another field can complete a post-master’s counseling program provided that it meets the guidelines set forth by the state. Alaska offers up 3 accredited counseling schools to choose from.
|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|
Supervised Professional Practice Requirements
After obtaining your Master’s Degree in counseling, you will be required to practice under the supervision of a licensed counselor in the state of Alaska. You will need to accumulate at least 3,000 hours of supervised practice within a period of 2 years.
At least half of those hours must be in direct counseling with individuals, couples, families, or groups. At least 100 hours of that supervised experience time should be face-to-face with your supervisor, who must be approved by the State of Alaska Board of Professional Counselors.
Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in Alaska
Once you have completed your Master’s Degree (before, after or during your supervised experience), you will need to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE), administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). This examination tests your knowledge of counseling and various topics related to counseling, such as ethical practice, human growth and development and more. You are given 4 hours to complete this 200-question, multiple-choice test.
Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in Alaska
After you have completed the supervised experience requirements and have passed the NCE examination, you will be able to apply for licensure through the Alaska Board of Professional Counselors. There is a $125 non-refundable application fee, and once you have been approved by the board, there is a $400 licensure fee. There is a biennial professional counselor license renewal application and fee in the state of Alaska; this must be maintained in order for your license to remain valid.
Note: To learn more about the process involved in becoming a counselor in Alaska, please visit the Alaska Board of Professional Counselors website.
Salary and Occupation Information for Counselors in Alaska
The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles data from all states for counselors. In the state of Alaska in the year 2012, there were approximately 270 substance abuse counselors, 590 mental health counselors and 300 rehabilitation counselors employed.
The annual medial salaries for these professionals ranged from $52,680 and $66,330. There are various things that will affect the salary level for counselors, including their education and experience.