How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Indiana

How Do I Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Indiana?

Whether your career plans in counseling include a focus on substance abuse, grief counseling, couples counseling, pediatric counseling, or one of the many other subspecialties of counseling, you’ll need to earn a state license through the Indiana Behavior Health and Human Services Licensing Board to practice as a licensed professional counselor in Indiana.

Therefore, learning how to become a licensed professional counselor in the Hoosier State starts with meeting the state requirements for licensure, which includes earning a graduate degree, passing a national exam, and meeting specific supervised experience requirements.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in Indiana?

The first step to becoming a counselor in Indiana includes the completion of a master’s degree or higher in an area of mental health counseling (e.g., human development, psychology, human services, family relations, or clinical social work) from an eligible educational institution approved by the Board. The program have a minimum of 60 semester hours specified in counseling or any related field and include coursework in:

  • Human Growth/development
  • Social/cultural counseling foundation
  • Helping relationships
  • Groups
  • Professional Orientation
  • Lifestyle/career development
  • Individual Appraising/assessment
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychotherapy/mental health counseling
  • Clinical Instructions
  • Contextual Dimensions

The program must include a supervised clinical practicum, internship, or field experience in a counseling setting that totals 700 clock hours (a practicum of 100 hours and an internship of 600 hours).

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

Many graduate programs in counseling are now offered in a hybrid and/or online format. These programs combine the rigor and quality of an on-campus program with the convenience and flexibility of online study. An online master’s degree in counseling is often the ideal way to earn your master’s in counseling while you continue to uphold your professional and personal obligations.

Find counseling degree programs in Indiana.

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

In Indiana, you’ll need to take and pass National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and a state jurisprudence exam before you can earn licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate (LMHCA).

Once you pass the required exams and the Board approves your application as an LMHCA, you can begin accruing the required experience necessary for licensure as a licensed professional counselor in Indiana.

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

You will need to complete a minimum of 3,000 hours of experience under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional during your time as an LMHCA. The following professionals may serve as your supervisor during this time:

  • Psychologist
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychiatric/ Mental Health clinical nurse
  • Clinical social worker

The experience requirements must take a minimum of 21 months. Once you have fulfilled the experience requirements, you can apply to become an Indiana Licensed Mental Health Counselor and pay the $50 application fee.

Counselor Career Outlook In Indiana

The outlook for counselor careers in Indiana is strong in the coming years. Between 2018 and 2028, the number of jobs among Indiana’s substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to increase by a lofty 26.3% - higher than the national projected growth rate of 25% for the profession (between 2019-2029).

During this ten-year period ending in 2028, the state expects to see about 570 annual job openings among substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors due to a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.

Indiana’s substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned a median salary of $41,690 as of May 2020. If you’re new to the profession, you can expect to earn closer to the 25th percentile, which was $35,000. The most experience and established substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned salaries that reflected the 90th percentile - $70,190.

Rehabilitation counselors in Indiana, who work with clients with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities overcome challenges to live independently, earned a median salary of $38,800 as of May 2020, while the top earners in this field (90th percentile) earned about $58,760.

All other types of counselors in Indiana earned a median salary of $53,030 as of May 2020 and a top salary (90thpercentile) of about $86,350.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Indiana

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and counselors, all other. 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).