How to Become a Licensed Counselor in Rhode Island

How Do I Become a Professional Counselor in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island is an excellent state to learn and practice counseling. Qualified counselors are in demand and the average salary in the state of Rhode Island is significantly higher than the national average. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training says that the community and social service industry will grow more than 9% through the year 2030. With the proper background and training, you could get your counseling career off to a fantastic start in Rhode Island.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Professional Counselor in Rhode Island?

The state of Rhode Island has put forth several obstacles you must overcome before you can be licensed as a counselor. The reason for this is so that you can gain an adequate amount of knowledge and experience that will be used throughout your entire career.

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

Your first goal should be to complete a master’s or doctoral program in counseling that has been accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The program should include at least 60 semester hours. You will also need at least 12 semester hours of supervised practicum and 1 calendar year of supervised internship that consists of at least 20 hours per week. Rhode Island law (R5-63.2-MHC/MFT) states that the internship should have an emphasis on mental health counseling and it should be supervised by the educational program department.

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What are the Supervised Experience Requirements to Become a Counselor in Rhode Island?

You will need to accumulate at least 2 years of post-graduate experience, with 2,000 hours of direct client contact. This client care should include offering clinical or counseling or therapy services with an emphasis on mental health counseling. You should also accumulate at least 100 hours of supervised casework throughout that 2 year period.

More information regarding your education requirements can be found at the Rhode Island Department of Health.

What Are the Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in Rhode Island?

The board will accept a passing score from the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE), administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). This examination tests a future counselor’s knowledge and skill level with 10 simulated clinical mental health counseling cases. The board may accept another test that meets their requirements, but you will need to contact the Rhode Island Department of Health to determine which ones.

Note: To learn more about how to become a counselor in the state of Rhode Island, please visit the Rhode Island Department of Health website.

Counseling Career Outlook In Rhode Island

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 980 mental health, substance abuse, and behavioral disorder counselors employed in the state of Rhode Island in May of 2022. However, the BLS hasn’t reported salary information for these counselors since 2021. That year, their average yearly income was reported as $64,640 — higher than the national average for 2022 ($56,230). Salary is dependent upon the level of experience you have as well as the location in which you live in Rhode Island.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Rhode Island

Additional Resources for Rhode Island Applicants:

2022 and 2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Rhode Island Department of Labor 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.