How to Become a Licensed Counselor in Wisconsin

How Do I Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Wisconsin?

Men and women motivated to help individuals may want to consider a career as a licensed professional counselor in Wisconsin. This is one of the fastest growing industries in the state, so the demand for well-trained and dedicated workers is high. O*NET, a partner of the US Department of Labor, projects that Wisconsin’s mental health counseling workforce will grow by 19% by 2030.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in Wisconsin?

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

A rich educational background and on the job experience prepares counselors to deal with any situation that may arise throughout their career. It also helps them provide the best possible care to their patients, who are counting on them. For these reasons, Wisconsin law requires future counselors to obtain at least a master’s degree in counseling or a very closely related field. The program must be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). During this training, you will cover topics like human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, group dynamics, appraisal of individuals and much more.

What Are the Supervised Experience Requirements to Beceome a Counselor in Wisconsin?

Upon obtaining your master’s degree, you may begin working to accumulate the required supervised work experience. You can also apply for your Professional Counselor Training License, which will enable you to work at the trainee level as you gather that experience. This is handled through the Wisconsin License, Permit and Registration Services.

The amount of supervised experience required by law (Chapter 457 – Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling, and Social Work Examining Board) is dependent upon your highest educational degree. If you have obtained a master’s degree, you will need to gather at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience, completed over a period of two years. At least 1,000 of these hours must be what is called “direct client contact,” meaning that you’re working in a setting that enables you to interact with clients. If you have obtained a doctorate’s degree in counseling, you will need to accumulate at least 1,000 hours of supervised experience.

You supervisor must be a licensed professional counselor who has received a doctorate degree in professional counseling, a licensed professional counselor who has had at least 5 years of full-time professional counseling experience or a psychiatrist or psychologist.

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What Are the Examination Requirements to Beceome a Counselor in Wisconsin?

The Wisconsin License, Permit and Registration Services will accept a passing score on the following nationally-recognized examinations:

  • The National Counselor Examination (NCE)
  • The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)
  • The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination (CRC)

The NCE is offered up by the National Board for Certified Counselors and is perfect for general counselors whereas those who want certification in clinical counseling should go with the NCMHCE, which is also offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. If you plan to pursue a career in rehabilitation counseling, the best choice for you is the CRC, which is offered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

Note: For more information on how to become a counselor in the state of Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin License, Permit and Registration Services.

Counselor Career Outlook in Wisconsin

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May of 2022, there were 6,840 mental health counselors in the state of Wisconsin, 2,130 rehabilitation counselors, 4,250 education and guidance counselors, and 440 other counselors. Their mean annual wage ranged from $39,700 to $57,770. Pay typically increases with experience and can differ depending on where you live in the state of Wisconsin.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Wisconsin

Additional Resources for Wisconsin Applicants:

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET (a website sponsored by the US Department of Labor) job market trends and salary figures for counselors in Wisconsin are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed July 2023.