How to Become a Licensed Counselor in Texas

How Do I Become a Professional Counselor in Texas?

Careers that give you a chance to really help people, one family or individual at a time, are as unique as the landscape and culture of Texas itself. Even in a place that celebrates rugged individuals who bootstrap their way through tough times, community is hugely important here, and the helping hands of trusted friends and neighbors are always appreciated. This is where counselors in Texas shine, stepping in to offer new perspectives and some thoughtful guidance exactly when people need it most.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in Texas?

The state of Texas recognizes that counselors need a solid educational and training background in order to successfully help their patients. Therefore, in addition to a great education, supervised work experience will be required in addition to a passing score from a board-accepted 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

The first step to becoming a counselor in Texas is to complete a master’s or doctorate level program in counseling which has been accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The program should include no less than 48 graduate semester hours and 300 supervised practicum hours. At least 100 of those hours should be spent working directly with patients. The program will cover interesting topics like human development, counseling theories and social, cultural and family effects on human behavior.

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

As you’re earning your supervised experience, you will need to be licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern. To obtain this license, you will need to pass the examinations listed below before applying for the provisional license from the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Once you have obtained the provisional license, you may begin accumulating your work experience.

Texas law requires that professionals obtain at least 3,000 clock hours of supervised experience, with half of those hours being what is called “direct client contact.” This means they must be working directly with patients. The 3,000 hours must be completed in a period of not less than 18 months and should be completed under the supervision of a board-approved supervisor.

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

Passing scores from two tests are required; the first is The National Counselor Examination, administered by the NBCC, which includes 200 multiple choice questions and is designed to gauge the general knowledge of counselors. The second is the Texas Jurisprudence Examination, which measures the candidate’s knowledge of rules and laws specifically in Texas as well as ethics issues and laws. Individuals who receive a passing score on the exam, and complete the supervised experience requirements will be eligible to obtain a license as a professional counselor.

Note: To learn more about how to become a counselor in the state of Texas, please visit the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.

Counseling Career Outlook In Texas

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 11,570 substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors working across Texas as of the latest report in May 2019. Among that broad group of licensed counselors, the median salary statewide was $47,350 that year, while those earning in the 90th percentile made more than $72,670.

That year, more than 3,000 rehabilitation counselors reported working in the state, earning a median salary of $44,830, while the top ten percent earned more than $65,750.

(Salary data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2019 for the categories of Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors and Rehabilitation Counselors. Figures represent state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Information accessed March 2021.)

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Texas

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Additional Resources for Texas Applicants: