How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in Georgia?

From Chattanooga to the Chattahoochee River, the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, the state of Georgia has something for everyone. If you enjoy helping others, a career as licensed professional counselor should be on your radar. With an outstanding number of specialties in the field, you’re sure to find a niche that best speaks to you and the positive impact you want to make in the world.

Learning how to become a licensed professional counselor in Georgia means first understanding the education and licensing requirements set forth by the Georgia Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists.

What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Professional Counselor in Georgia?

Licensed professional counselors in Georgia must complete a master’s degree program or higher whose content is primarily in counseling or applied psychology. The program must be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or by an agency recognized by CHEA. Programs not accredited by the CACREP must include the following coursework:

  • Counseling/psychotherapy theory
  • Counseling or applied psychology practicum or internship of at least 600 hours
  • At least six of the following nine content areas:
    • Human growth and development II
    • Multicultural counseling or diversity training
    • Counseling techniques/skills or Advanced psychotherapy/intervention theory
    • Group dynamics and group counseling/psychotherapy
    • Lifestyle and career development
    • Appraisal/assessment of individuals
    • Research methods and evaluation or Research statistics
    • Professional orientation and ethics
    • Psychopathology
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

Increasing numbers of graduate programs in counseling are now offered in a hybrid and/or online format to accommodate busy, working professionals and those with geographical limitations. An online master’s degree in counseling can provide you with the flexibility and convenience your busy life demands.

Once you have complete the required course of study, you must take and pass either the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), both of which are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Once you pass one of the above national examinations, you’ll apply to become a Georgia Associate Professional Counselor.

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Working as an Associate Professional Counselor you’ll complete at least two years of experience under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor and then apply to become a Licensed Professional Counselor and pay the $100 application fee.

Which Type of Counselor Will You Become?

As you become familiar with how to become a licensed professional counselor in Georgia, you’ll also learn about the many sub-specialties in the profession. Just some of the directions you can take your counseling career include couples counseling, grief counseling, pediatric counseling, spiritual counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and much, much more.

You may also be interested in similar careers and their earning potential:

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists apply psychological principles and techniques to address student learning and behavioral problems. They design and implement performance plans and evaluate performances, providing counsel to students and families. As of May 2020, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists, who must hold a PhD or PsyD, earned a median salary of $74,830 in Georgia. The top earners here (90th percentile) earned about $153,070 during this time. Learn more about how to become a psychologist in Georgia.

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors help students develop academic and social skills to succeed in life and work at schools of all levels. Counselors typically have master’s degrees and work in primary and secondary schools, colleges and vocational schools, and educational support organizations. Georgia’s educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors earned a median salary of $56,260 in May 2020, while those at the top of the pay scale (90th percentile) earned about $85,510 during this time.

Marriage & Family Therapists leverage cognitive behavioral therapy within the context of the family dynamic to help their clients. As of May 2020, marriage and family therapists in Georgia, who must hold a master’s degree or higher, earned a median salary of $49,860, while the most experienced in the profession (90th percentile) earned about $84,190. Learn more about how to become a marriage and family therapist in Georgia.

Counseling Career Outlook and Licensed Counselor Salaries in Georgia

As of May 2020, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned a median salary of $42,600 in Georgia. Those with just a couple years of experience earn closer to the 25th percentile, which was $35,230, while the most experienced and established pros in the field earned salaries that reflected the 90th percentile - $64,500.

Between 2018 and 2028, the number of jobs among Georgia’s substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to increase by 28% - outpacing the national projected growth rate in this profession of 25% (between 2019 and 2029). During this period ending in 2028, the state expects to see about 950 annual job openings for Georgia substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors due to new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.

Rehabilitation counselors in Georgia, who work with clients with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities to live independently, earned a median salary of $37,830 as of May 2020, while the top earners here (90th percentile) earned about $58,840. All other counselors in Georgia earned a median salary of $47,980 as of May 2020, and the top earners (90th percentile) earned about $77,440.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Georgia

Additional Resources for Georgia Applicants

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, rehabilitation counselors, counselors, all other, marriage and family therapists, and clinical, counseling and school psychologists. Figures represent state data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed May 2021.

State job growth projections for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors and mental health counselors sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net database (2018-2028).