How to Become a Licensed Counselor in Tennessee

How Do I Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Tennessee?

The state of Tennessee is a wonderful place for bright and caring individuals to study and practice counseling. The Jobs4Tn Occupational Outlook reports over 100 new openings for mental health counselors each year, and labels this industry as one with a very bright outlook in all areas of the state. For future counselors, this means a wealth of opportunities including competitive pay and very rewarding positions.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in Tennessee?

A fantastic counselor has a solid foundation from a high-quality education and wisdom gained from supervised experience. This is why the state of Tennessee requires that you obtain at least a master’s degree in counseling, gain some supervised experience and then pass a board-accepted examination showcasing your level of knowledge and experience.

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

The first step is to obtain your master’s degree from an educational program accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. The program should include at least 60 graduate semester hours and cover the core concepts of counseling including topics like theories of human behavior, theories of counseling and psychotherapy, etc.

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

The state laws in Tennessee (Chapter 0450-01 – General Rules Governing Professional Counselors) require individuals to gain a certain amount of supervised experience. This experience gives young professionals the confidence and information they need to succeed and they earn it under the watchful eye of a licensed professional.

You’ll need to accumulate at least 2 years of supervised professional, post-degree experience. This should consist of no less than 10 hours per week and 50 contact hours of supervision per year. This supervision should take place under a qualified and licensed mental health counselor.

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

To finally get your license as a licensed professional counselor, you will need to pass two examinations, including The National Counselor Examination, administered by the NBCC and the Tennessee Jurisprudence Examination. The NCE gauges your overall knowledge of counseling and the things you learned during your educational program. It consists of 200 multiple choice questions and topics such as social culture and diversity, human growth and development, assessment and more.  You will be given 4 hours to complete the test. The Jurisprudence Examination is a way of gauging your knowledge of Tennessee-specific topics such as ethics and certain laws.

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

Counseling Career Outlook In Tennessee

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2,330 mental health counselors, 1,870 rehabilitation counselors and 1,190 substance abuse counselors employed in the state of Tennessee in May of 2011. Their median annual salaries ranged from $23,890 to $36,130, which is slightly smaller than the national average. However, professionals can expect increased salaries with experience and depending on where you live within the state of Tennessee.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Tennessee

Additional Resources for Tennessee Applicants: