How to Become a Licensed Counselor in Arizona

Men and women who feel a calling to help others improve the quality of their lives may be well suited for a career in counseling. In the state of Arizona, there is great demand for highly qualified counselors. The Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics expects the counseling industry to grow by 22.6 percent through the year 2020. States with greater demand often feature more opportunities for counselors and positions with higher compensation. Before becoming a counselor in Arizona, men and women must meet the requirements set forth by state laws.

Education Requirements to Become a Counselor in Arizona

A graduate-level degree is required for future counselors in Arizona, so it’s essential to obtain at least a Master’s degree in counseling or a field that is closely related to counseling. The law requires that the program be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or another regional accrediting agency. The program must include at least 60 semester credit hours, and if it is not accredited by CACREP or CORE, applicants must prove that the program fulfilled the state’s requirements.

Note: More on the state’s program requirements can be found in Title 4, Chapter 6, Article 5 of the Arizona Administrative Code.

Counseling Educational Track
Education RequirementsEducation LengthAvailable Programs
Undergraduate WorkEarn a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling4 YearsOnline or Campus
Graduate WorkEarn a Master's Degree in Counseling5-6 YearsOnline or Campus
PHD or Doctoral WorkEarn a Doctorate in Counseling7-8 YearsOnline or Campus

Supervised Professional Practice Requirements

Future counselors must spend time learning under the supervision of an approved licensed counselor in the state of Arizona. Men and women should apply for licensure as a Licensed Associate Counselor through the board before pursuing their supervised experience. At least 3,200 hours of supervised work experience must be accumulated in no less than 24 months. Of those hours, at least 1,600 must be in direct client contact. This experience prepares future counselors for a variety of situations and patients, and ensures that they will be ready to provide the best possible care to patients.

Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in Arizona

The examination required in the state of Arizona can be taken directly after obtaining your Master’s degree, or after obtaining your supervised experience. The board will accept passing scores from the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) or the licensure examination administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). These examinations are comparable, and both are 200+ question, multiple-choice tests that measure your knowledge and understanding of counseling.

Becoming a Counselor in Arizona

Upon completion of your supervised practice and after you have obtained a passing score from one of the accepted examinations, you will be able to submit an application to the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. There will be a $250 non-refundable application fee and several other requirements that must be completed in order to be considered for licensure. You will also be required to pay a separate licensing fee after you have been approved and prior to receiving your license.

Salary and Occupation Information for Counselors in Arizona

Data is collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on counseling jobs within the state of Arizona. In the year 2012, counselors earned an annual median salary of $34,530 and $47,550. Salary will differ depending upon the branch of counseling an individual has specialized in, their individual experience level and their education levels.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Arizona 

Additional Resources for Arizona Applicants: