How to Become a Licensed Counselor in Oregon

How Do I Become a Counselor in Oregon?

If you love learning about different people and are often the one people come to for advice or help, a career in counseling would suit you well. This is one of the fastest growing social services fields in the state of Oregon; the Oregon Employment Department says the field of mental health counseling will grow 26.1% through the year 2031. Practicing counseling in Oregon is beneficial, with salaries higher than the national average and a wealth of opportunities.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in Oregon?

The state of Oregon wants their counselors to be as prepared as possible to handle the responsibility of assisting clients in any way they can. Therefore, they require a significant educational background as well as on the job training with supervised experience. Future counselors will also need to pass a board-approved examination.

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 it comes to education, the state requires that you have a graduate degree in counseling or a closely related field. The program should be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). It should include 48 semester hours spread out between topics such as counseling theory, human growth, and development, research and evaluation. The complete list of required topics can be found in section 833-060-0042 of the Oregon Administrative Rules.

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

Before starting to accumulate the supervised experience you need to become a counselor in Oregon, you will need to register as an intern with the Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists. As an intern, you must gain at least 2,400 “client contact” hours of experience. While 2,000 of those hours must be post-graduate, 400 of those hours can include an internship or practicum that you completed during your schooling.

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

You will be required to pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors, as well as an examination which measures your understanding of Oregon-specific rules and laws. The National Counselor Examination is a very widely-respected exam that consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. These questions cover the topics that you learned during your schooling, and you will have 4 hours to complete the exam.

Note: For more information on how to become a counselor in the state of Oregon, please visit the Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists.

Counseling Career Outlook In Oregon

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 7,080 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors employed in the state of Oregon in May of 2022. Their average annual wage was $60,980. There were also 2,140 rehabilitation counselors with an average salary of $47,910. Both of these statistics are higher than the national averages for each profession.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Oregon

Additional Resources for Oregon Applicants:

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Oregon Employment Department 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.