How To Become A Licensed Counselor In Missouri

How Do I Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri?

The Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors provides licensure for two progressive levels: Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor(PLPC) and Licensed Professional Counselor(LPC). Future counselors are able to receive their PLCP license upon the completion of their post-graduate education, successfully passing an exam, and filing the necessary paperwork with the board. An additional 3,000 hours of supervised practice is required to gain the full LPC license. The Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors FAQ supplements much of the information on this page.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in Missouri?

Missouri is home to two major metropolitan areas and a growing population throughout the state. Future counselors in Missouri could find themselves working in the inner city of Kansas City, MO or St. Louis, or helping families in many rural parts of the state. As the cities like Joplin and Branson continue to face more urban problems, such as drug use and poverty, the need for qualified counselors will increase across the state. Going through the process of licensure will better prepare a future counselor for some of the harsh realities facing the people of Missouri.

The first step towards a full license is the provisional license that can be obtained after completing a master's degree in counseling, counseling, and guidance, school psychology, clinical psychology, or counseling psychology. For full licensure, the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors also requires a passing score on the National Counselor Exam (NCE). The final requirement is 3,000 of post-masters supervised practice. Once all these requirements are satisfied future counselors can display their full LPC license from the State of Missouri with pride.

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

Future counselors who have attained a master's degree will be required to have no less than 24 months of supervised practice. 3,000 total hours are required with no less than 1,200 hours of direct client care. The additional 1,800 hours can be divided between seminars, case work, or working on treatment plans. It is necessary for all hours to be accrued post-master's. The board will determine if future counselors who have completed higher than masters degree work can complete their requirements in less than 24 months and a smaller total number of hours.

During a future counselor’s time in supervised practice a Licensed Professional Counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist must supervise them. In addition, a supervision plan must be submitted to the board. Once the plan is underway, if changes need to be made, those must be filed with the board as well. One hour a week of direct supervision is required and no less than half of the supervision hours may be in a group context.

The PLPC supervised practice phase of this process demands attention to detail on the part of the supervisor and the licensee, good record keeping will help smooth the application process for a full LPC license.

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

Missouri’s Committee for Professional Counselors demands a passing score on the National Counselor Exam (NCE) for the provisional license. Future counselors attending a CACREP-accredited program might qualify to take the NCE early. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), responsible for administering the NCE, may allow a candidate to take the test before they have received their master’s. Individuals can inquire of the board to find out more at [email protected].

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.

Note: For more information on how to become a counselor in the state of Missouri, please visit the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors.

Counseling Career Outlook In Missouri

The American Counseling Association of Missouri points out that professional counselors salaries can vary greatly depending on location, specialty, and the current regulatory environment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average professional counselor’s salaries in Missouri range between $34,910 and $52,590, but licensed counselors may exceed these statistics. Whether in a state program, or private practice, licensed professional counselors in Missouri can be sure of one thing, they will be part of a distinguished group of professionals dedicated to improving the quality of life of everyone living in their state.

Additional Resources for Missouri Applicants:

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics job market trends and salary figures for counselors in Missouri are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed July 2023.