How to Become a Licensed Counselor in New York

How Do I Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in New York?

New York is the third most populous state and home to the nation’s most populous city. For over two hundred years New York has been the home of an unfathomable amount of diversity. Both in people, through Ellis Island, as well as goods and the cultures they represent, through the Erie Canal. Among the millions of people in New York a wide variety of cultures and values are represented. Future licensed professional counselors can be assured that they will never exhaust the specific issues represented by the people of New York. After meeting the educational, exam, and experience requirements set forth by New York’s Mental Health Practitioners Unit a Licensed Mental Health Counselor(LMHC) is guaranteed an exciting career.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in New York?

The myriad possible practices awaiting the future counselors of New York state is simply astonishing. They may ultimately end up practicing in the quaint streets of Greenport on Long Island or in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. There simply are not many places more diverse than New York state. Regardless of where a LMHC licensed counselor decides to serve the people of New York they’ll be given a unique opportunity to live by the ACA’s code, to empower “diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals”.

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

When pursuing New York’s LMHC license, future counselors are required to complete graduate coursework, receive a passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination(NCMHCE), and complete the necessary supervised experience. This mixture of a qualified degree, from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), examination, and the supervised experienced gives a future councilor the skills and experience they’ll need to best serve the people of New York.  Future counselors in New York will also need training in identification and reporting of child abuse. A list of Approved Providers of Training has been made available at New York’s Office of the Professions website.

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

Future counselors must work under supervision a total of 3,000 hours before receiving their license. No less than 1,500 hours are required to be in direct contact with clients. Future counselors will be working under a limited permit until they attain all their hours. Applicants are required to fill out multiple documents: a general application for licensure and a limited permit application. These applications are both made available at by New York’s mental health practitioners website. Future counselors should not start practice until they have received their permit.

Regardless, commitment on the part of the supervisor and the licensee to keep good records will insure accuracy and a well documented application for a full license.

What Are the Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in New York?

New York’s Mental Health Practitioners Unit requires a passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination(NCMHCE), administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors(NBCC), for full licensure.

The NCMHCE consists of 10 simulated clinical mental health counseling cases that are designed to sample a broad area of competencies. You will receive your score within 6 weeks of the examination. Study guides are also available via the NBCC.

Note: For more information on how to become a counselor in the state of New York, please visit the Mental Health Practitioners Unit.

Counseling Career Outlook In New York

Once a counselor has earned their LMHC license and began practicing in New York it is worth their time and energy to join a professional association, such as the American Counseling Association of New York. A professional community will help support new counselors wherever they choose to work in New York. Depending on their level of education, specialization, location, licensing, and the type of counseling provided LMHC licensed counselors might earn a salary somewhere between $36,680-$83,800 based on the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the average wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in New York is $60,320.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from New York

Additional Resources for New York Applicants:

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics job market trends and salary figures for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2023.